Nerlens Noel, Thabo Sefolosha Receive Five-Game Suspensions

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.

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15 thoughts on “Nerlens Noel, Thabo Sefolosha Receive Five-Game Suspensions

    • Reflect

      And also everyone else. It’s completely harmless and the government doesn’t exist to nanny people.

      • Thomas Swanson

        I agree. I had a foot reconstruction, shoulder replacement, and serious back problems. Government bans opiates because of addiction. Pain management gives me Gabapentin for diabetic neuropathy that I don’t have saying he can’t prescribe Tramadol anymore. Tells me not to take Aleve or Bayer arthritis because it’s bad for your liver. I feel for these athletes. The government is saying if you are in pain deal with it.

    • Gary

      LOL you called nothing.

      They all smoke weed. And he did absolutely zero to mess up his chance for a contract. His playing ability dictates that.

      You called absolutely nothing. He could be flakier than my grandma’s best biscuits, and still get a good NBA contract if he was a player.

        • Thomas Swanson

          I remember Noel got sued by his landlord in Philly for trashing his apartment. I think he beat Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon.

  1. Thomas Swanson

    Noel will sign in Denver. It’s legal there. They banned opiates for pain. That leaves pot!

    • Just because it’s legal in the state doesn’t mean it’s allowed in the nba.

      • Thomas Swanson

        It’s not, it’s not in NFL either. Ezekial Elliott got in trouble for being in tent where they sell it in Washington. Ricky Williams has a company selling pot paraphenalia in Texas. The players in the NBA and NFL want pot legalized for medical use. I don’t blame them. For the seriousness of injuries they have, and opiates being banned, you need something stronger than Aleve or Bayer. Same for chronic back pain.

        • elcarim_23

          I don’t see the league telling LeBron to stop lol

          ..but more seriously the leagues follow a more federal rule than state rule and as far as federal goes it is still illegal but weed is less harmful to you than drinking and taking painkillers. But smoking weed isn’t for everyone. As someone who participated in the past with it (for medical reasons as an athlete myself) it is very helpful. I don’t see myself as an active advocate of weed but I don’t judge anyone for using it as long as they can still work or go to school or be productive.

          • Luckylefty2

            Yep let’s compare lebron to Nerlens Noel. Lebron is the NBAs cash cow he can do wtv he wants.

  2. Greg

    Gotta ask, who the h_ll is advising young Mr. Noel? Pass up on a 4 year, $70M offer and sign for $4M? Get nailed not one or twice, but three times by the L for smoking weed when the NBA says it’s a no no?

    I know Nerlens is not the first guy to flush a career away, but enjoy the last $4M you’re going to make in an NBA season, get ready for a couple of years of minimum offers, and enjoy all the Lettuce you would like three years from now when you’re unemployed and sitting on your couch.

    Can’t believe that Cuban et al almost gave this guy $17.5M a year for 4 years. Thought you were a shrewd business man.

    • CursedRangers

      The 3 strikes and your out part is what is absurd about Noel. We can all debate whether pot should be legal or not. But he could just not smoke for a few weeks knowing he was on strike 2. Cost himself millions, again….

  3. x%sure

    Sefalosha had a fine year and if he could still make it later I thought he would be a good pickup for the Cavs if the Jazz were done with him. Pretty complicated to work out now!

    People should have the right to sedate themselves on their own time and in a safe and natural way. Society could use more of that for everyone’s sake IMO. Better than liquor abuse. The issue should be about using it during working hours only!

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