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Suns GM James Jones: No update on appeal process for Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game against the Sacramento Kings at Talking Stick Resort Arena on October 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Kings 124-95. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

With Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton three games into a 25-game suspension for failing a drug test, the next development to come is on a potential reduction on Ayton’s suspension.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that the NBA’s Player’s Association has already prepped an arbitration case for Ayton to reduce or entirely rescind the suspension. That case is built on Ayton’s “unintentional digestion” of a diuretic, which are medications that help increase the production of urine and also used for blood pressure and weight loss.

Ayton’s statement said he will be challenging the ruling through the arbitration process.

“This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of,” it said. “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 Players’ Union (NBPA) to go through the arbitration process and am hopeful for a positive resolution.”

General manager James Jones was asked by 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Burns & Gambo if he had any update on the process.

“I don’t,” Jones said. “That’s in the player’s association’s hands. We’re supporting Deandre. We’re focused on the team continuing to focus on the next game. That’ll take care of itself.

“I know he misses being out there with his teammates and whenever he comes back, we’ll be ready to re-integrate him and continue with this forward movement and momentum.”

Per league rules, Ayton is allowed to be around the team and get his work in at the facilities but has to leave the arena once it is within two hours of a game starting.

“He’s a big part of what we do,” Jones said. “We feel the loss of his presence daily. It hurts us both equally. It’s an opportunity for us to grow and see what we’re made of.”

The Suns are off to a surprising 2-2 beginning to the season, with wins over the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers along with one-point losses to the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. They are back in action on Wednesday in Golden State, a 7:30 p.m. tipoff you can hear on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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