Updated by Stephen Babb at 9pm ET on April 19, 2014:
Nick Calathes isn't taking his suspension quietly.
The Grizzlies card is instead defiantly criticizing the NBA's decision according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst and J.A. Adande: "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."
Per Windhorst and Adande, Calathes' attorney David Cornwell was especially outspoken:
Our tests identified tamoxifen in a supplement Nick [used] for a legitimate medical condition and our tests confirmed that Nick did not have testosterone or any other PED in his body. Despite this irrefutable, objective scientific evidence, the NBA's response was, 'Oh well.' This is indefensible because no legitimate purpose is served by suspending a man who the NBA knows was not cheating.
So far the NBA isn't budging.
---End of Update---
Update by Stephen Babb at 12am ET on April 19, 2014:
The NBA has made it official. Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes will get a 20-game suspension after testing positive for tamoxifen.
there it is RT @NBAPR: MEM's N. Calathes suspended twenty games for violating NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program (positive test for tamoxifen),— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 19, 2014
Read more below for additional details and analysis.
---End of Update---
The Memphis Grizzlies' Nick Calathes is in big trouble with the NBA, and none of us should be surprised that Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski found out about it before anyone else. Here are all the details.
Memphis guard Nick Calathes will be suspended 20 games for violation of NBA's Anti-Drug policy, source tells Yahoo. Supension starts now.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 18, 2014
Calathes tested positive for Tamoxifen, which he was part of an over-the-counter athletic supplement he had used, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 18, 2014
The NBA's lab results showed no traces of testosterone or PED in supplement, source says. "There was no intent here," league source tells Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 18, 2014
Calathes has been important part of Grizzlies backcourt rotation and his 20 game suspension will begin immediately, source says.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 18, 2014
The NBA is expected to announce the Calathes suspension tonight or Saturday, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 18, 2014
The first-year guard has played an important, albeit limited, role for the team this season. He averaged 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game. Calathes also contributed the kind of defensive intensity you'd expect from a Memphis role player, snatching nearly a steal per game, despite the low minutes.
It's unclear how much Calathes will be missed during his suspension. Rotations typically shorten during the postseason anyway, so many of his minutes would probably have gone to Courtney Lee and Tony Allen either way. But if nothing else, he was certainly a valuable insurance policy.
In the meantime, we'll also look to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Calathes' suspension. Wojnarowski suggested that it wasn't intentional, but speculation has already begun.
Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games. Tested + for tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker, not a PED. Dopers use it to mitigate steroid side-effects.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 25, 2012
Why would someone would test + for tamoxifen & not PED? Several possible reasons, but usually a timing issue: used at the end of a cycle.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 25, 2012
For now, however, we have little more than guesses on which to go.
Calathes was selected with the 45th overall pick back in 2009. After a successful college career at the University of Florida, he spent the next several seasons playing in Greece, before making the jump to the NBA.