Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton received a 25-game suspension on Thursday after violating the NBA and NBA Players Association’s anti-drug policy. Ayton tested positive for a diuretic, which are on the league’s banned substance list. Diuretics can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs.
It is likely that the NBPA uses one of its two chances to expedite a case with the NBA on Ayton. The union can expedite two cases per year and it will likely use one on Ayton to help him reduce the 25-game ban. There are reports that follow up testing showed no traces of the diuretic. The NBPA will argue that Ayton did not know he took a banned substance.
There is a provision in the league’s collective bargaining agreement that deals with what is called unintentional ingestion. It is possible after review that Ayton’s penalty could be reduced or even rescinded. The NBPA will file the arbitration papers as soon as possible in an effort to get Ayton back on the court quickly.
Phoenix got off to a great start with a 124-95 win over Sacramento in their season opener on Wednesday night. Ayton was instrumental in that win scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He also blocked four shots. Devin Booker led the Suns with 22 points and 10 assists.
If Ayton were to miss all 25 games, he would lose $2.17 million of his salary this season. Ayton is in the second year of his rookie contract. His base salary this season is $9.5 million.