Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds and four blocks in the Phoenix Suns' season-opening win against the Sacramento Kings Wednesday in Phoenix. File Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The NBA has suspended Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton for 25 games for violating the league's anti-drug program.
The league said Ayton tested positive for a diuretic. Diuretics, sometimes called water pills, help rid the body of salt and water and are sometimes used to mask the presence of other banned substances.
The National Basketball Players Association said it plans to go through arbitration after the suspension, attempting to get the ban reduced or rescinded.
"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. "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."
Ayton's suspension begins Friday, when the Suns travel to play the Denver Nuggets at 9 p.m. EDT. He is set to lose $2.17 million in salary during the ban.
The former Arizona Wildcat and No. 1 2018 NBA Draft pick recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and an assist in the Suns' season-opening win against the Sacramento Kings in Phoenix Wednesday.
"On behalf of the Phoenix Suns organization, [coach] Monty Williams and I are disappointed in the actions by Deandre Ayton that led to his testing positive for a banned diuretic and subsequent suspension by the NBA," Suns General Manager James Jones said in a statement. "This does not uphold the standards and principles we have set for the team.
"Deandre has expressed his deepest remorse. While he is suspended we remain committed to his growth and development on and off the court. His actions are not taken lightly, and we are committed to ensuring that Deandre understands the profound impact it has had on the team, organization, and Suns community.''
The 7-foot-1, 250-pound center averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game during his rookie campaign last season. Ayton, 21, is due a $9.56 million salary this season.