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ESPN insider: Path to overturning Suns’ Deandre Ayton suspension ‘hard’

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game against the Sacramento Kings at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 4, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s rare that an NBA player receives a 25-game suspension, a suspension that was handed to the Suns’ Deandre Ayton on Thursday, who tested positive for a banned diuretic.

In recent years, ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks recalls Wilson Chandler, who was suspended 25 games late in summer 2019.

In these cases, Marks said it is difficult for a player to have a suspension overturned or even modified. However, with the new collective bargaining agreement, Ayton’s odds may be a bit better.

“I know he’s already filed a grievance,” Marks told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf on Friday. “The new CBA allows you a little more, I don’t want to say flexibility, but it gives you a little more of a chance because they added in there if a player not knowingly ingested it then maybe there’s a possibility of a reduction in money or games.”

Despite this, he believes it’s hard to explain how someone could ingest a substance without knowing they are doing it.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “That rule as far as not knowingly is like if you go to Starbucks and somehow something gets into your coffee.

“But if you get something from a trainer, even if it was not knowingly, there’s still a responsibility and that’s the hard part.”

After an impressive season-opening win at home against the Sacramento Kings, Ayton’s suspension is a particularly heavy blow for a team that seemed to jell so well together.

A former VP and assistant general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, Marks believes Ayton needs to be more responsible for his actions.

“When you’re picked number one or picked in the top half of the lottery, you are likely supposed to be a franchise type player,” Marks said. “With a franchise type player comes an added responsibility. “

As far as Ayton’s role as a teammate, Marks said his work ethic will determine how the rest of the locker room views him.

“I think if the players realize he is still working hard, and he is part of the team I think they’ll embrace him,” he said.

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