Adam Silver explains why Josh Giddey can play while police investigate alleged relationship with minor

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 24, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey puts up a layup as Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel defends during a game on March 24. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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Josh Giddey continues to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder, weeks after Newport Beach police said they were conducting an investigation of allegations that the third-year NBA player had an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl.

Giddey, 21, remains a key cog on a team perched near the top of the Western Conference, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN that he won't determine whether Giddey should be suspended until the investigation is concluded.

The NBA also launched an investigation, although Silver said the league has taken "a back seat" to the police inquiry.

“I can’t think of many circumstances where we’ve suspended a player based on an allegation alone,” Silver said. “I’m not going to say never ever, but I think this is the path we’ve consistently followed in the past.

"In this case, so we have an allegation and then you have a police investigation and then a parallel league investigation. I also add that, where there is a criminal investigation, we take a back seat … that impacts how the players and players' association can work with us because of course the player needs to protect his rights."

Read more: Newport Beach police investigate allegations NBA's Josh Giddey had relationship with minor

Although the NBA typically waits until law enforcement files charges before it takes action, the league can suspend a player even if no criminal or legal issues arise from an investigation. An example is the 25-game suspension being served by Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies, and an eight-game suspension Morant served last season, both for brandishing a firearm on Instagram Live.

Giddey was the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft without having played college basketball, and as a 19-year-old rookie was the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double. Giddey is in the third year of a four-year, $27.2-million contract.

Questions about Giddey’s possible involvement with a minor emerged on the social media platform X, where pictures and videos of Giddey with a female, who is allegedly underage, circulated online during Thanksgiving weekend.

One of the images is of a shirtless Giddey standing behind the female, who is smiling. Others are of them talking and laughing into the camera outside a nightclub in Orange County.

Newport Beach police released a statement on Nov. 29 asking the public for information related to the allegations while detectives are "pursuing all leads and evidence to obtain the facts of the case.

“The Newport Beach Police Department aims to ensure a fair and thorough investigative process while maintaining the privacy and dignity of everyone involved. At this time, NBPD Detectives are still conducting an active investigation.”

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The female is a high school student in Orange County, according to a teacher who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. The Times will not publish specific identifying information of an alleged underage victim of a sexual crime.

The age of consent in California is 18, compared to 16 in Australia and Oklahoma, the country Giddey is from and the state he plays in.

A person in the Orange County district attorney's office who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed frustration, saying of the rampant speculation and misinformation online: "If there is a criminal prosecution, it would be difficult."

On Nov. 24, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault would not comment on anything about Giddey that occurred off the court, and Giddey responded to questions from reporters by saying, "I get the question, guys. I completely understand you guys want to know about it. Just for right now, I don’t have anything to say.”

Giddey spends the offseason in Orange County to train, and his agent, Daniel Moldovan, who is also Australian, lives in Newport Beach.

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Playing for Australia, Giddey earned the Wanda Rising Star Award at the FIBA World Cup in September and is viewed as key to Australia’s medal chances at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Giddey's parents were professional players. His father, Warrick Giddey, played for the Melbourne Tigers and is a coach in the Australian women's league. His mother, Kim Giddey, played for Melbourne in the women's league.

Australian national team coach Brian Goorjian told the Sydney Morning Herald he "100%" wants Giddey to represent his country in the Paris Olympics, but that "there is a back-up plan” should Giddey be charged with a crime. Goorjian, who has known Giddey's family for decades, is scheduled to meet with the player Friday in the U.S.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.