NBA bans Meeks 25 games for doping violation


NEW YORK: Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks was suspended 25 games without pay by the NBA on Friday (Saafter testing positive for growth hormones in violation of the league’s anti-drug policy.

The league announced Meeks had tested positive for banned substances ipamorelin and growth hormone releasing peptide-2.

Jodie Meeks AFP PHOTO

The suspension will begin with Saturday’s opening game of the Wizards’ NBA playoff series against Eastern Conference top seed Toronto.

The ban will keep Meeks out of this year’s playoffs and carry into next season. Meeks has a player option to play next season for the Wizards.

Washington went 43-39 this season, grabbing the last playoff spot in the East for the best-of-seven matchup against the Raptors, who owned the second-best record in the NBA at 59-23.

In 77 games this season for the Wizards, Meeks averaged 6.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists a game. He has NBA career averages of 9.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists a game over nine seasons with Milwaukee, Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit, Orlando and the Wizards.

Hornets dump Clifford as coach after five seasons

Steve Clifford was fired as coach of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets on Friday, three days after the end of their third losing season in four campaigns.

The Hornets also missed the playoffs for the third time in four years, finishing at 36-46 for the second consecutive season.

“I want to thank coach Clifford for his contributions to the Hornets,” Hornets general manager and president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak said.

“I know he has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the organization and we wish him the best moving forward.

“The search for a new coach will begin immediately.”

Clifford took over the club in May of 2013 and in his first season guided Charlotte to a 43-39 record and into the playoffs, although a Miami sweep ended the post-season run.

Clifford also oversaw a run to the 2016 playoffs, where the Hornets pushed Miami to seven games but still lost in the opening round.

Overall, Clifford went 196-214 with the Hornets, his first NBA head coaching post after assisting on the staff of New York, Houston, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.


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