Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks was suspended 20 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy.
He tested positive for a substance found in some over-the-counter supplements, the league said Saturday.
Noah has not played since Feb. 4 and likely was to miss the Knicks' final 10 games this season because of a left knee injury. The NBA said Noah's suspension "will begin with the first NBA regular season or playoff game for which he is eligible and physically able to play."
At minimum, that means the suspension will carry over into at least the first 10 games of next season and likely longer, since Noah is not currently able to play.
The league cited Noah for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has said that the substance, known as SARMs, has "similar properties to anabolic agents, but ... the lack of steroid-related side effects."
The World Anti-Doping Agency has SARMs on its prohibited at-all-times list. USADA has issued warnings in the past that products containing the illegal compound are "being sold illegally as dietary supplements."
The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the story.
At this point, nothing should come as a surprise with regard to Noah's turbulent season. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong.
Noah was widely expected to be sidelined the rest of the season due to injury. There's clearly nothing at stake for the team anyway. Such a suspension would have been more gut wrenching if they were in the midst of the playoff hunt. That said, the big man had bleak (if not also unrealistic) hopes of returning before season's end.
There was very little motivation to rush his rehab process with the Knicks only having eyes for the draft lottery. At this point, however, Noah and the team may look to expedite the process so he can get examined by a doctor and potentially start serving the suspension before next season begins.
Noah's inability to be the type of caliber player New York was hoping for, when they signed him, has been unfortunate. Acquired to be the defensive anchor of a team gearing for contention, Noah struggled to stay on the court for meaningful stretches, even when he was considered healthy. Without much help from the big man, the Knicks' campaign has continued to spiral out of control.
As they look to regroup and change their direction next season, overpaying for Noah's veteran presence certainly doesn't fit this team. It was unlikely the team was going to be able to move him in the offseason as it is. This suspension won't help the cause.