Noel, Sefolosha suspended without pay for violating anti-drug program.
Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel and Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha have each been suspended five games without pay for violating the NBA's anti-drug program, according to reports. Both teams have five games remaining in the regular season, but the Jazz are on pace to be playing in the post-season.
Noel’s suspension will begin with tonight’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Portland Trail Blazers, meaning he won't be on the court again until the start of the 2018-19 season. In his first full season with the Mavs, Noel only appeared in 30 games and averaged just 4.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in a little more than 15 minutes of action per night.
He returned to the Mavericks on a one year qualifying deal of $4,187,599, after turning down a four-year, $70 million offer sheet, and now he'll surely be in search of a new team next season. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, the five-game suspension will cost Noel $144,400.
Sefolosha, on the other hand, had season-ending knee surgery in January, and his suspension will begin with the next regular season or playoff game that he's physically able to play. In 38 games this season, Sefolosha averaged 8.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals but hasn't suited up since January 12 due to an MCL injury. Bobby Marks reports that the suspension will likely cost Sefolosha $172,241 in 2018-19.
The Jazz, 44-33, are currently sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference but there's a lot that could change in the final five games of the season. Heading into tonight's matchup against the Lakers, Utah is one game back of the fourth place San Antonio Spurs, and one game ahead of the eighth seed New Orleans Pelicans.