Naturally, we're all wondering what substance Moultrie abused. Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin allows us to wonder no more:
Sixers' Arnett Moultrie has been suspended 5 games for violating league's drug policy. Five games is the marijuana penalty.— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) March 31, 2014
Moultrie isn't the first NBA player to be banned under these circumstances this season. New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith received a five-game suspension to start 2013-14 for the exact same reason, per ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
As Begley reminded us then, a player must test positive for marijuana three times before being issued a five-game punishment:
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, a player loses 1/110th of his salary for each game he is suspended, so the five-game ban will cost Smith approximately $252,000.
The NBA declined to comment specifically on Smith's violation. According to a summary of the program provided by the league, a third positive test for marijuana results in a suspension that is "five games longer than the player's immediately-preceding marijuana suspension.' That is the sole scenario in which a five-game ban is administered.
So, you know, good job, Arnett. Way to be a role model who understands responsibility and the art of self-control.
This isn't a distraction the Sixers need at the moment. Moultrie barely plays, so that's not the issue. He's appeared in just 12 games all season, and hasn't played a single minute in the last nine.
For a known tanker fresh off tying the league's longest losing streak, though, this is an unnecessary hindrance—especially when you consider the source.
Nearly two years into his NBA career, Moultrie, who was initially drafted by the Miami Heat in 2012, seems like a first-round bust. His inability to secure minutes on a team as deliberately bad as Philadelphia speaks volumes. Putting himself in the same company as Smith is also damaging to his already fragile, unimpressive reputation.
In the coming days, we can probably expect some sort of an apology from Moultrie's camp. Something along the lines of, "I'm sorry, this will never, ever happen again," would seem appropriate.
Fortunately for the Sixers, this changes nothing about their imminent game plan.
"It's not something I want to be a part of," Michael Carter-Williams said of the Sixers' losing streak after they upended the horrible Detroit Pistons, per The Associated Press (via ESPN). "So it's great that we got this win."
It's even better that Moultrie's temporary departure is irrelevant enough to ensure it won't cost the Sixers any more wins than their not-even-fit-for-college-basketball model already will.