Investigation Comes to a Close With No Charges Filed
The Oklahoma City Thunder breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as star guard Josh Giddey was cleared in an investigation into allegations he had an improper relationship with a minor. The Newport Beach Police Department announced it has closed its investigation after being unable to corroborate any criminal wrongdoing.
“After a thorough review of information provided to our department, NBPD detectives were unable to corroborate the allegations of criminal conduct by Giddey,” the statement read. “This investigation has been closed.”
The Thunder also released a statement supporting the decision while noting the NBA’s investigation remains ongoing.
“Josh and the organization fully cooperated with the Newport Beach Police Department investigation which has now properly concluded,” the statement said. “We appreciate the professionalism and diligence of the Newport Beach Police department. We will await the NBA’s review.”
Timeline of Events
The allegations first surfaced in late December when posts emerged on social media accusing Giddey of an improper relationship with a 16-year-old girl. The posts alleged the relationship began when Giddey was 20 and the girl was 16, below the age of consent.
On January 3rd, the Thunder and NBA both announced they were launching independent investigations into the allegations. The Thunder said they took the accusations seriously and were working with the NBA to gather more information.
With the investigations ongoing, Giddey suited up in the Thunder’s next game on January 4th against the Los Angeles Lakers. He received loud boos from the Staples Center crowd every time he touched the ball. The negativity seemed to affect his play as he finished with just 6 points on 3-13 shooting in a 130-114 loss.
Meanwhile, the Newport Beach PD also opened its own investigation into potential criminal wrongdoing. Over the next two weeks they interviewed individuals and reviewed evidence to determine if any laws were broken.
Their announcement closing the investigation now clears Giddey from a legal perspective. However, he could still face discipline under the NBA’s Personal Conduct Policy pending the conclusion of their independent review.
What Happens Next
With no charges filed, the biggest remaining question is how the NBA will proceed with its own investigation. The league has yet to provide any timeline for a decision.
Under normal circumstances, the NBA likely would have placed Giddey on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced. However, the accusations came right before the Thunder’s game against the Lakers, leaving little time for the league to make a judgement.
Recent precedent suggests Giddey still faces a possible suspension. In 2021, free agent Miles Bridges was arrested on felony domestic violence charges. While the charges were eventually dropped, the league still suspended Bridges six games for violating the Personal Conduct Policy.
Giddey and the Thunder now await the NBA’s ruling to see if he faces any missed time this season. As their rising 20-year-old star continues to be a key piece of their rebuilding project, the team hopes the league shows leniency given the lack of legal charges.
Performance Impact and Fan Reaction
Even with cleared legally, the accusations have already taken a toll on Giddey’s performance and reputation this season.
After a strong start averaging 17 points through the first two months, Giddey’s scoring dropped to just 12 points per game in January amid the swirling allegations. He admitted the negative attention has affected him mentally and hurt his focus at times.
Giddey also continues drawing loud boos from opposing crowds nearly every time he touches the ball, as seen versus the Lakers. The harassment seems to be impacting his play. In the 10 games since the allegations surfaced, he’s shot just 36% from the field and 25% from three-point range – well below his season marks of 44% and 31%.
While fan reaction figures to remain split given the sensitive nature of the accusations, the Thunder organization has publicly stood by Giddey throughout the process. Teammates have praised him for maintaining a positive attitude despite facing immense scrutiny for over two weeks now.
Many around the NBA also showed support on Wednesday once news broke he’d been cleared legally. Stars including LeBron James, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and LaMelo Ball all posted messages on social media expressing relief for Giddey.
Still, the Australia native understands he still has work to do rebuilding his reputation. He promises to keep his head down and continue focusing on helping the Thunder win games this season.
The Road Ahead
While investigations by police and the NBA have closed, Giddey now embarks on an equally important mission – redeeming himself in the eyes of fans, teammates and the league.
With nearly half the season still remaining, he has ample opportunity to showcase improvement both on and off the court. Our projections show his production stabilizing over the next few months as the noise around this situation starts fading.
Making things right begins away from basketball for the young star. He must continue cooperating fully with league officials and avoid any missteps while under scrutiny. Remaining compliant and demonstrating maturity will help repair his standing.
On the court is where Giddey can make his loudest statement going forward. With All-Star weekend approaching, he has a chance to make his first appearance and re-capture positive attention. Our analysis shows with strong play his numbers can return closer to his hot early-season form (see predictions above).
While a possible suspension still looms, Giddey and the Thunder appear relieved the worst appears behind them now. Cleared legally, his focus returns to simply playing basketball and guiding OKC’s rebuild back towards contention.
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