According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN, Harris has run afoul of the NBA's anti-drug policy:
Portland's Terrel Harris has been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) August 5, 2013
No details of the specific substance have been released by the league, but based on an excellent breakdown by Henry Abbott of ESPN, Harris' five-game suspension could have either been the result of a first positive test for performance-enhancing drugs or a third positive test for marijuana.
Given the harsher suspensions the NBA has been handing out for PED use since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, it seems unlikely that Harris' ban stems from the use of performance-enhancers.
Remember, O.J. Mayo served 10 games after testing positive for the steroid DHEA in 2011, while Hedo Turkoglu was suspended for 20 games after testing positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid, last season.
Based on length of Terrel Harris' suspension (five games), it is not related to PEDs. First-time PED violators get a 20-game suspension.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) August 5, 2013
Harris' five games don't quite match the severity of either of those bans.
Coming on the heels of an interesting potential link to the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly supplied PEDs to a handful of MLB players, Harris' suspension doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the NBA has a firm grip on its issues with drugs.
As for NBA, probably 1 or 2 in Biogenesis documents at most.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) July 29, 2013
No wonder, then, that commissioner David Stern seemed devoted to fast-tracking a league-wide test for human growth hormone as soon as next season, according to Ken Berger of CBS.
Harris came over to the Blazers as part of the three team trade that brought Robin Lopez from the New Orleans Pelicans. Originally considered a long shot to make the team, a 25-point performance in Portland's final contest in the Las Vegas Summer League might have changed Harris' fate.
As it is, Harris' 2013-14 salary will only become fully guaranteed if he's on the roster through Oct. 31. Now that he'll miss the first five games of the season, it's possible that the Blazers will look elsewhere for someone to occupy the end of their bench.