Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton facing major suspension after violating drug policy, NBA says

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-24 23:03:03-04

A star player with the Phoenix Suns has been suspended for 25 games after allegedly violating the NBA's anti-drug policy.

Center Deandre Ayton tested positive for a diuretic, NBA officials announced Thursday.

Ayton's suspension will begin with Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets, the league said.

Deandre Ayton released the following statement regarding the incident:

“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 Players’ Union (NBPA) to go through the arbitration process and am hopeful for a positive resolution.”

ESPN senior NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Thursday afternoon that the National Basketball Players Association is getting involved to protest the penalty.

Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones released the following statement:

“On behalf of the Phoenix Suns organization, Monty Williams and I are disappointed in the actions by Deandre Ayton that led to his testing positive for a banned diuretic and subsequent suspension by the NBA. This does not uphold the standards and principles we have set for the team. Deandre has expressed his deepest remorse. While he is suspended we remain committed to his growth and development on and off the court. His actions are not taken lightly, and we are committed to ensuring that Deandre understands the profound impact it has had on the team, organization, and Suns community.”

The first overall pick last year out of the University of Arizona, Ayton averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds as a rookie. He had 18 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night in the Suns' season-opening home victory over Sacramento.