NBA Commissioner David Stern said Wednesday that the league hopes to begin testing players for human growth hormone (HGH), perhaps as early as next season.
In a nearly half-hour exchange with reporters prior to the Timberwolves game against visiting San Antonio, Stern covered a number of topics, including the possible relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.
But addressing the HGH and Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) issue was significant, as Stern intends on keeping the NBA free of many of the problems that the NFL and Major League Baseball have endured in recent years.
"It's not a commitment, not a promise, it's an expectation," Stern said. "It might slide a little bit, but I think we're well on our way."
Unlike the NFL and MLB, the NBA has had few instances of players caught using HGH or PEDs. Stern attributed that to players and their union being amenable to testing, as well as being willing to expand the league's list of banned substances with little conflict.
"Our players have, as a group, said we want to be demonstrably free of drugs as much as any group of athletes in the world," Stern said, "and I think they've kept that pledge."
The last NBA player of note to have tested positive for illegal substances was Rashard Lewis, who was suspended for 10 games in 2009.
"If they (players) get through what I think they're going to get through and have full-fledged testing (for PEDs and HGH), based upon our overall dialogue with the union, we'll be in a good place to have that as well for next season," Stern said.