Nerlens Noel, Thabo Sefolosha Violate Anti-Drug Program, Suspended
Dallas Mavericks centre Nerlens Noel and Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha have been suspended by the NBA for five games without pay, for violating the league’s anti-drug program.
According to the program, a five-game suspension is given after a third positive test for marijuana. Noel’s ban will effectively end this season. Sefolosha, meanwhile, has been out since January after knee surgery, and will serve his suspension once he is physically cleared to play.
The suspension ends what has been a disappointing season for Noel. Once considered a Mavericks cornerstone after his 2017 trade from Philadelphia, Noel has found minutes hard to come by in 2017-2018, and also missed time this year recovering from thumb surgery. He has played only 30 games, averaging 4.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG. After turning down a lucrative contract in the offseason, his gamble has not paid off, as the Dallas big man’s value has surely decreased as he has fallen in and out of Rick Carlisle’s rotation.
Sefolosha, a veteran defensive specialist, averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG this year.