Former No. 1 overall pick, Deandre Ayton has been handed a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA/NBAPA Anti-Drug program after testing positive for a diuretic.
The news dropped less than 24 hours after the Suns opened their season with a dominant 124-95 win over the Sacramento Kings in which Ayton started, tallying 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Suns General Manager, James Jones, responded with the following comments in a statement released by the team:
"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."
After making a number of additions to their young squad, the Suns are hopeful of making a significant jump from their 19-63 record in 2018-19, but will now be without their rising star big man until the middle of December, unless the suspension is reduced via an appeal.
The NBPA is already preparing arbitration case to reduce or rescind penalty, based on belief positive test falls under CBA provision of 'unintentional ingestion', league sources tell ESPN. Ayton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. https://t.co/UM34cCc3Ol- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 25, 2019
Ayton was apologetic for his actions in the statement released by the team:
"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."
Ayton averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 71 appearances for the Suns last season.
The 25-game suspension if upheld will end for the Suns trip to Staples Center to play the Los Angeles Clippers on December 17.