Suns center Deandre Ayton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. One year later, he has been suspended after only one regular-season game.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday night that Ayton received a 25-game suspension from the NBA for violating the league's anti-drug policy with a positive test for a diuretic. Ayton later confirmed the news with a statement to Wojnarowski.
More Ayton: "I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry. I'm extremely disappointed that I've let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution." https://t.co/LShm244MnD— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 25, 2019
ESPN cited league sources in reporting that the National Basketball Players Association, which can expedite two cases per year, likely will do so with Ayton's appeal. Those sources told ESPN that the union believes it can have the 25-game ban reduced or thrown out under a collective bargaining agreement provision of "unintentional ingestion."
Ayton's looming suspension, which ESPN pointed out could cost him $2.17 million in salary, puts him in line to miss games against both the Warriors and the Kings. The Warriors face Phoenix once in their first 25 games, when they host the Suns on Wednesday at Chase Center. The Kings, who lost 124-95 in Wednesday's season opener at Phoenix, next play the Suns on Nov. 19 at Golden 1 Center.
Ayton dropped 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Suns' victory.
The 21-year-old big man averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game as a rookie last season in Phoenix. Losing him for any stretch of time will be a big blow to the Suns as they try to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.