The NBA announced Friday that Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans has been “dismissed and disqualified” for at least two years after he violated the terms of the league’s anti-drug policy.
Per league rules, the NBA, the Pacers and the National Basketball Players Association are not allowed to disclose information surrounding the ban, other than to announce it.
The nature and length of Evans’s ban applies to “drugs of abuse” rather than marijuana or a first-time performance-enhancing drugs violation. Included on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list are cocaine, heroin, codeine, methamphetamine, LSD and painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.
“We take these matters seriously and will reach out to Tyreke to offer our support,” the Pacers said in a statement.
Evans, 29, endured a down season in 2018-19, averaging 10.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. The 2010 rookie of the year, who has played for four teams in the past three seasons, posted career lows in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and player efficiency rating.
The Pacers suspended Evans for one game in October as punishment for being late to practice, and he missed time in March for what the team called “personal reasons.” After winning 48 games, Indiana was eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
The NBA’s rigorous anti-drug policies will require Evans to clear numerous hurdles to return to the court. He won’t be eligible for reinstatement until 2021, and both the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association must sign off on his return.
Those parties will weigh a number of factors, including the circumstances around his initial ban, his behavior during the ban, and whether he has received treatment. Evans also must prove he hasn’t failed a marijuana or other drug tests for at least a year before applying for reinstatement.
Former Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo received a similar ban in 2016. Despite making a significant comeback effort, the 31-year-old Mayo has yet to return to the NBA.
Chris Anderson, however, engineered a successful return. The longtime center was issued a two-year in 2006, at the age of 27, but was later reinstated in 2008. He went on to win a title with the 2013 Miami Heat and continued playing until 2017, when he retired at 38.
Evans, the No. 4 pick in the 2009 draft, just completed a one-year, $12.4-million contract with the Pacers and was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1. If and when he is reinstated, Evans will be an unrestricted free agent.