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Nets’ Chandler facing 25-game drug use suspension

The veteran swingman is likely to miss more than a quarter of the season.

August 29, 2019 JT Torenli

With Kevin Durant likely out for most, if not all, of the upcoming 2019-20 season for the Brooklyn Nets, Wilson Chandler was expected to get significant minutes out of the small forward spot while the two-time NBA Finals MVP continued his recovery from an Achilles injury.

Scrap that plan.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted Thursday morning that Chandler, a 32-year-old swingman and former New York Knick, is likely to begin the season serving a 25-game suspension due to a reported positive test for performance-enhancing drug use.


The league confirmed that initial report Thursday afternoon, announcing that Chandler had tested positive for Ipamorelin, a substance that violates the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

“During my injury rehab process, before I signed with the Nets, I was prescribed a treatment that included small doses of a substance recently added to the NBA’s prohibited substance list,” Chandler said in a statement to ESPN.
“I did not realize this substance was banned, and neither did the doctor.”

Nets General Manager Sean Marks inked Chandler to a one-year, veterans minimum contract back on July 8, just a week after the Nets officially announced their offseason coup of landing both Durant and former Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving.
Chandler averaged 6.0 points and 4.2 rebounds over 51 games last season, splitting time between the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Michigan native was a former first-round pick out of DePaul University in 2007 and spent his first three-plus seasons in New York before being included in the blockbuster three-team deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks during the 2010-11 campaign.

Though not considered a key piece in the Nets’ puzzle for this season, Chandler would have certainly helped fill some of the void left by the absence of Durant, who ruptured his Achilles during Game 5 of last year’s NBA Finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors.

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After losing veteran leaders like DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis and Jared Dudley this summer, the Nets, coming off their first playoff appearance in four years, were also counting on Chandler to be a strong voice in the locker room.

He won’t be able to provide that until at least the middle of December, likely prompting Marks to add another player to the roster in anticipation of the suspension.

“I accept responsibility and apologize to my Nets teammates, coaches, front office and fans for this mistake,” Chandler added. “I will continue to work hard to prepare for the upcoming season.”

Marks had arguably the best offseason of any GM in recent NBA history this summer, and Chandler’s suspension won’t hinder that perception very much.

It will, however, force Marks to find a player to absorb Chandler’s minutes during the first quarter of the 82-game regular season.
Chandler will remain on the team’s active list for the first five games of the season and then be suspended beginning Nov. 1. Brooklyn will then be allowed to sign a 16th player to the roster to take Chandler’s place during his suspension.

The 11-year veteran figures to lose more than half a million dollars during his time away from the Nets.

Update (4:15 p.m.): This story has been updated with new information.

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