NBA suspends Suns C Deandre Ayton 25 games for banned substance

Yahoo Sports
The NBA has suspended <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/phoenix/" data-ylk="slk:Phoenix Suns">Phoenix Suns</a> center <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/5958/" data-ylk="slk:Deandre Ayton">Deandre Ayton</a> for 25 games. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
The NBA has suspended Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton for 25 games. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The NBA has suspended Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton 25 games for testing positive for a banned diuretic.

The league announced the ban Thursday night. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news. The ban will take place starting Friday during the Suns’ game against the Denver Nuggets.

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“Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns has been suspended without pay for twenty-five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for a diuretic,” an NBA statement reads. “Ayton’s suspension will begin with tomorrow’s game between the Phoenix Suns and the Denver Nuggets.”

NBPA preparing appeal

Wojnarowski reports that the NBPA is preparing an arbitration appeal based on the collective bargaining provision regarding “unintentional ingestion” of a substance. He also reports that a follow-up test revealed no trace of any other banned substances.

Ayton: ‘This was an unintentional mistake’

Ayton provided a statement to Wojnarowski:

“I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community. This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of. 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.”

The No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Ayton was poised for a breakout season in Phoenix after averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 58.5 percent from the field as a rookie.

He logged 18 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-14 shooting from the field during Phoenix’s season-opening win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

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