SAN ANTONIO – The $72 million man has made a $3 million mistake.
The NBA announced Saturday morning Knicks center Joakim Noah is suspended 20 games for testing positive for a testosterone booster, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator LGD-4033, in violation of the Anti-Drug Program.
The Androgen supplement is touted to help with testosterone. It tends to act like an anabolic steroid, and hence is viewed as a performance-enhancing ingredient because it “provides many of the muscle-building and therapeutic benefits of testosterone.’’ An NBA source said some items have been removed from the list in the new CBA for next season, but this one remained.
The NBA stated the suspension for Noah, who is injured, starts for the first NBA game for which he’s “eligible and physically able to play.” Noah had left-knee arthroscopic surgery in late February and was expected to be reevaluated in late March, leaving it unclear when he’s eligible to start serving.
In the worst-case scenario, Noah would serve all 20 games to start next season, but that’s unlikely. In capping his miserable first year in New York, the 20-game boot will cost him between $2 million and $3 million in salary, varying because of the CBA changes next season to calculating the fraction of player’s wage for a suspended game.
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said he fully intended to have Noah return before season’s end – even with the team out of the playoff race. Hornacek said Knicks doctors first must clear him for practice, then get NBA approval. Noah, who was slated to lose his starting job next year to rookie Willy Hernangomez, said recently his aim was to return in April to get a good vibe going into the offseason.
“We thought we might get him in here late in the season, working to try to get back and get games obviously,’’ Hornacek said at Saturday’s morning shootaround in San Antonio. “That won’t happen. Hopefully the doctors can get him cleared and some of those…