Suns could be without Ayton for the next 25 games.
The Phoenix Suns got off on the right foot this season, picking up a dominant 124-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings in their home-opener. Second-year center Deandre Ayton was particularly solid, posting a double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes of action.
But because the Suns can't have nice things, Ayton has been suspended for 25 games. The NBA announced on Thursday night that Ayton tested positive for a diuretic, which is commonly used as masking agent to hide the use of PEDs.
Ayton issued the following statement regarding the suspension:
“I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community," Ayton said in a statement, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of. I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry. I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution.”
Selected No. 1 overall by the Suns in the 2018 NBA Draft, Ayton averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in 70 games last season. In his absence, former Boston Celtics big man Aron Baynes will be thrust into the starting lineup.
The Suns will visit the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, followed by a pair of home games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz.