NBA suspends Pistons' Isaiah Stewart for pregame altercation with Suns' Drew Eubanks

The NBA on Thursday suspended Detroit Pistons forward-center Isaiah Stewart three games without pay for “initiating a physical altercation with Phoenix Suns forward-center Drew Eubanks" before the team's game at Footprint Center in Phoenix.

"Stewart punched and pushed Eubanks during the altercation,” the league announced in a news release.

Stewart is expected to begin serving his suspension Thursday when the Pistons play the Indiana Pacers.

The incident happened on Feb. 14, hours before the Pistons and Suns played, and Stewart, 22, was arrested for assault, issued a citation and released, according to a Phoenix Police Department news release. The report said the incident happened in the parking tunnel of the arena. On Thursday, the assault charge was dropped.

Eubanks was walking to the Suns' locker room when he was stopped by Stewart, the Suns player told the Arizona Republic, part of the USA TODAY Network.

“Just walking in and words were said and got sucker punched and security stepped in and that was it,” Eubanks told the Republic.

The Suns' backup big man told the Republic he was OK and said Stewart's punch was "soft." Eubanks was in the lineup that night against Detroit and scored six points and pulled down eight rebounds in 17 minutes in the Suns' 116-100 victory.

Stewart has been suspended once before, following a November 2021 incident in which he went after Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James after James busted up Stewart's face while battling for a ball. Stewart was suspended two games for that incident.

Contributing: Jace Evans, USA TODAY; Duane Rankin, Arizona Republic

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pistons' Isaiah Stewart suspended for punching Suns' Drew Eubanks