Well, this is out of the blue. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that Jodie Meeks will be suspended 25 games after testing positive for Ipamorelin and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2, which are both banned as part of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug program.
Meeks’ lawyer released a statement in which he makes it clear Meeks will attempt to appeal the suspension:
“It is regrettable that the NBA has prematurely taken action against Jodie today. 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’ father also shared his thoughts:
Orestes Meeks, father of #Wizards G Jodie Meeks, on his son's 25-game suspension for violation of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug program:— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 13, 2018
"I think he’s as shocked as anybody else. He was stunned."
(Story first reported by @wojespn)
The 25 game suspension is the standard length of punishment for a first-time violator of the Anti-Drug policy because of a performance-enhancing drug.
Meeks’ suspension won’t hurt the Wizards much in the playoffs. Brooks usually phased Meeks out when the team went to shorter rotations during the season, and now that John Wall and Bradley Beal are both healthy, he can stagger them with Tomas Satoransky, who can flex between both spots. That was probably going to happen whether Meeks was available or not.
The bigger issue comes with next season. Meeks has a player option for next season which he’ll surely pick up, and there are no provisions in the CBA in which they can void his contract for a first-time violation.
If Meeks can’t get his suspension overturned, he will likely miss significant time next season, which further complicates Washington’s plans. For instance, if the Wizards were eliminated after a seven-game series with the Raptors, he’d still have to miss 18 more games next season before he could play again. That’s over one-fifth of the season. Washington now will surely have to make some sort of a move to add another shooting guard who can spell Beal next season while Meeks serves his time.