Suns center Deandre Ayton has been suspended 25 games without pay for violating the league's anti-drug policy, the NBA announced on Thursday.
Ayton violated the protocol by testing positive for a diuretic, according to the league.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBPA is already preparing an arbitration case to reduce or rescind Ayton's penalty based on belief that the positive test falls under the CBA provision of "unintentional ingestion."
The No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Ayton was poised for a breakout season in Phoenix after averaging 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 58.5% from the field as a rookie.
"I want to apologize to my family, the entire Suns organization, my teammates, partners, our fans and the Phoenix community," Ayton said in a statement. "This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of.
"I do understand the unfortunate impact that this has on so many others, and for that I am deeply sorry," he added. "I’m extremely disappointed that I’ve let my team down. I will continue to work with the NBPA to go through arbitration and am hopeful of a positive resolution."
Ayton put up 18 points and 10 rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting from the field during Phoenix’s season-opening win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Ayton's suspension will begin Friday when the Suns take on the Denver Nuggets.