Mavericks center Nerlens Noel and Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha have each received five-game suspensions for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program, the league announced today. The bans are for marijuana violations, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
The lottery-bound Mavericks only have five games left in the regular season, so Noel will start serving his suspension immediately and avoid having it carry over to 2018/19. With unrestricted free agency looming for the former lottery pick, it’s possible that Noel has played his last game in Dallas. The suspension will cost him approximately $145K of this season’s salary.
As for Sefolosha, his situation is a little more complicated since he’s expected to miss the rest of this season with a knee injury. The veteran must receive medical clearance before he can begin serving his suspension, so the five-game ban figures to impact his availability at the start of next season.
Sefolosha is under contract for 2018/19, but his $5.25MM salary is non-guaranteed. The Jazz could release him by July 1 and avoid being on the hook for that salary — if they keep him on their roster, they’ll be without him for their first five games in the fall.