2:01pm: Meeks has issued a statement to ESPN indicating that he’s surprised by his suspension and intends to fight it, as Wojnarowski relays.
“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today,” Meeks said in his statement. “Let me clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.
“I look forward to exercising my rights under the (NBA’s) collective bargaining agreement to bring this matter to arbitration and to clear my name in relation to this wrongful accusation.”
12:25pm: The NBA will suspend Wizards sharpshooter Jodie Meeks for 25 games for violating the league’s anti-drug program, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Barring an unexpectedly lengthy postseason run for Washington, the ban will keep Meeks out of action until sometime in the 2018/19 season.
Meeks tested positive for two banned compounds, Ipamorelin and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2, sources told Wojnarowski. The veteran guard intends to fight the suspension, lawyer Ben Levine told Wojnarowski.
“It is regrettable that the NBA has prematurely taken action against Jodie today,” Levine said. “Accordingly, we will appeal the suspension and vigorously defend Jodie’s rights. Unfortunately, under the CBA, a player is guilty until proven innocent and while Jodie’s appeal is pending he will be forced to sit out the playoffs.”
Meeks, 30, was a regular contributor off the Wizards’ bench this season, averaging 6.3 PPG on .399/.343/.863 shooting in 77 games (14.5 MPG). Washington will have to look elsewhere to fill those minutes during the club’s first-round series against the top-seeded Raptors.
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the suspension will cost Meeks just shy of $30K per game during the postseason, with the Wizards picking up about $22K per game in tax savings. Meeks would serve the remaining games on the suspension to open the 2018/19 season. Assuming he exercises his $3.5MM player option to stick with the Wizards, Meeks would lose about $31K per game via the suspension next season, Marks notes.
Per the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, most suspensions only cost a player 1/145th of his annual salary per game, but bans that exceed 20 games – like Meeks’ – cost the player 1/110th of his salary per game.