Larry Sanders has been suspended for 10 games by the NBA for violating the league’s drug program. Given the length of the suspension and Sanders’ history, the most popular theory is that Sanders tested positive for marijuana, which would be his fourth failed marijuana test. He was suspended for five games at the tail end of last season after testing positive for a third time.
Per USA Today:
Though the NBA did not release details about the latest test, Sanders was suspended last year for a third failed marijuana test. And the NBA/NBPA anti-drug policy calls for a suspension of five games more than the previous suspension upon subsequent failures. The policy calls for the suspension to last until the player has completed in-patient or aftercare treatment.
The 10-game suspension also could be the result of a first failed performance-enhancing drug test, according to the policy.
Sanders did not fail a test for a drug of abuse (Amphetamines and similar drugs, cocaine, LSD, opiates such as heroin, codeine and morphine, and PCP), as that suspension would have been different. Per the math of Fox Sports Wisconsin’s Andrew Gruman, Sanders’ suspension will cost him $1 million in salary.
You may remember that Sanders came out as a very vocal proponent of marijuana after his suspension last season.
I don’t really want to do this whole song and dance again about whether this is or isn’t okay and if he’s letting his teammates down and if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. I don’t know Larry Sanders. I don’t know how the Bucks locker room actually feels about him or this situation. I know the Bucks are now down a player and I know Sanders is paying a significant penalty for using marijuana.
I’ve seen some people question whether or not the Bucks could void his contract. Short answer, no. From Larry Coon’s salary cap FAQ:
Any attempt at voiding a contract likely would be met with a grievance filed by the players association on behalf of the player. Grievance arbitrators have consistently denied attempts to void contracts. For example:
– The Boston Celtics were not allowed to void Vin Baker’s contract in 2004, despite his alcohol abuse preventing him from playing, and his failure to comply with his treatment program.
The Bucks won’t be voiding his contract. And he’s very unlikely to be traded any time soon. So Sanders will remain on Milwaukee’s roster as he serves this suspension and continues to attempt to work out whatever personal problems are troubling him.
It was unclear when Sanders was going to return previously and now we can, at the very least, count him out for the next 10 games.