NBA gives Minnesota’s Griffin 5-game suspension


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota forward Eddie Griffin was suspended for five games by the NBA without pay Friday for violating terms of the anti-drug program.

The NBA’s policy is not to release details on such violations. The punishment was to begin with the Timberwolves’ game on Friday night at Memphis.

The 24-year-old and seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft revived his career with a solid season as a reserve for Minnesota in 2004-05 and signed a three-year contract worth $8.1 million.

His production decreased last season and he has been nearly invisible on the roster this season, appearing in only 92 minutes and 13 games. He last played on Dec. 13.

Given his history of off-the-court problems and dwindling impact, Griffin’s time with the Timberwolves could be over.

“We are extremely disappointed in Eddie’s violation of the NBA/NBAPA Anti-Drug Program,” general manager Jim Stack said in a statement. “As an organization and a league, we do not condone or excuse this type of behavior. It is each player’s responsibility to adhere to the league policy as agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement.”

Fined for being late on the first day of training camp, Griffin recently pleaded guilty to inattentive driving after hitting a parked car while out late one night in Minneapolis. The 6-foot-10 Griffin has a wide range of skills, but he has never been able to put his problems in the past.

His first two years in the NBA with Houston and New Jersey included a series of suspensions, court dates and missed practices – including time spent in the Betty Ford Center for alcohol treatment in 2004.

Players are randomly tested four times per season.

AP-ES-01-12-07 1709EST