Bucks’ Larry Sanders suspended five games after testing positive for marijuana

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Last summer the Bucks decided to make Larry Sanders a cornerstone of their rebuilding efforts and gave him a four-year, $44 million contract.

He has “rewarded” the Bucks with a disastrous season on and off the court. He has played just 23 games (not playing as well as last year when he was healthy), and he missed the bulk of that time due to needing hand surgery after shredding a ligament during a bar fight. He fought with teammates. He got cited by police for leaving his dogs out in the cold. He’s been out and will be the rest of the season with a broken eye socket (suffered in a game).

Now there is this: He has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the league’s drug policy, the league announced Friday. Five games is the league’s marijuana penalty, and Sanders admitted that is what the suspension is for. Just a reminder, you have to test positive three times for marijuana in league testing to get a suspension, the first two times you just get sent to rehab/counseling.

Sanders released this statement.

“I apologize to the entire Bucks organization and our fans for being suspended five games for using marijuana in violation of the NBA Anti-Drug Program. I take full responsibility for my actions.”

The Bucks released this statement.

“Larry Sanders has a responsibility to every person in our organization and our fans. We are all disappointed by the news of his suspension.”

Because he is out injured for the season he will serve those games at the start of next season.

The Bucks are rebuilding and while it looked a year ago like Sanders could be a part of that, if he doesn’t mature quickly the Bucks will jettison him to the first team that will take on his contract. Which will take time to find.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.