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Nick Calathes calls suspension 'unfair', mounting a defense

By Zach Harper | NBA writer

Calathes says his suspension is unfair. (USATSI)
Nick Calathes says his suspension is unfair. (USATSI)

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The Memphis Grizzlies aren't going to be able to count on Nick Calathes being available for them in the playoffs. After receiving a 20-game suspension from the NBA for violating the NBA's drug policy with Tamoxifen, it's highly unlikely Calathes will be able to get back on the court before the 2014-15 season. But that won't stop him and his attorney from trying to get the suspensions amended or lifted altogether.

Calathes is expected to challenge the league's ban and mount a defense that will include filing for an expedited grievance that would be heard within 10 days. Calathes' camp claims the NBA's process is unfair, claiming the NBA knows Calathes is not trying to cheat and yet he's still being punished for 20 games. From ESPN.com:

Suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes is mounting a defense against a 20-game suspension handed down Friday for violation of the NBA's drug policy, citing it as unfair. The league, however, plans to stand by its ruling under the collective bargaining agreement.

Calathes was suspended less than 24 hours before the Grizzlies started their playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder for use of the drug Tamoxifen, which is one of the 140 substances banned by the NBA's performance-enhancing drug policy. Tamoxifen is not directly a PED but a masking agent for other substances, including synthetic testosterone.

The National Basketball Players Association has the option of asking for an expedited grievance to be heard within 10 days. It remains unlikely that the process will play out before the end of the playoffs. Unlike in Major League Baseball, appealed suspensions do not result in a stay.

"[It was] an over-the-counter supplement to treat a private but common medical condition; the NBA rejected it because it doesn't require a prescription," attorney David Cornwell, who is representing Calathes, told ESPN.

It will be interesting to see how the process plays out because finding a solution in the next two weeks and possibly lifting the suspension to the Grizzlies' backup point guard could have an impact on the end of the series with the Oklahoma City Thunder if they manage to push the series that long. Until we know just how realistic that is, the Grizzlies are expected to roll with Beno Udrih as the backup point guard.

Calathes is a 24-year old rookie averaging 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes. He's shooting 45.7 percent from the field and has been an important part of the Grizzlies' rotation in the second half of the season.

 
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