Pacers guard Monta Ellis and Pistons wing Reggie Bullock have been suspended five games apiece without pay for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, the league announced today (Twitter link via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today). The suspensions are believed to be marijuana-related, as Adi Joseph of USA Today tweets.
Ellis and Bullock will serve their respective suspensions to open the 2017/18 league year, assuming they’re physically able to play. If either player is injured to start the season, he’ll serve the five-game suspension once he’s ruled healthy enough to play.
Ellis, 31, had a down year in Indiana, as he played just 27.0 minutes per game, the lowest mark since his rookie season in 2005/06. He averaged just 8.5 PPG to go along with 3.2 APG and 2.8 RPG. Ellis has one more guaranteed year left on his contract with the Pacers, then has a player option for 2018/19. Indiana could also waive him prior to that option date without being on the hook for his ’18/19 salary.
“Monta’s suspension is a very serious matter to our franchise and it will be dealt with accordingly,” Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement.
As for Bullock, he may not end up serving his five-game ban as a member of the Pistons. The former first-round pick, who was limited to just 31 games due to injuries in 2016/17, is eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. He’s not viewed as a lock to get a qualifying offer from Detroit, let alone re-sign with the team.