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Darius Miles and that Drug Test

You know how it is basically common knowledge in the NBA that, as Jason Quick of the Oregonian has reported, Darius Miles has reportedly failed a drug test?

That is one of the weirdest deals ever.

Here's what I can tell you: Miles' violation of the League's anti-drug policy has never been acknowledged or confirmed on the record by anybody.

My own sources tell me that the NBA e-mailed the thirty teams, confidentially, to tell them Miles had violated the anti-drug policy and would be suspended ten games. So the teams knew.

Quick did not identify any sources, but as this is medical information that is protected somewhat, there is a limit to how many people would have been informed.

Quick's sources could have been any team, the League, Darius Miles, or somebody else. As Miles was until recently a Blazer, the Oregonian would be a likely outlet to publish any such news.

Everyone knows, however, that the Blazers have a business interest in keeping Darius Miles from playing in the League in the next two years -- if he plays ten games, his medical retirement is over, and Miles' salary is back counting against Portland's salary cap and luxury tax number.

If you're looking at things from Darius Miles' point of view, you might be a little miffed that this has leaked. He's working out for teams, trying to stave off the effects of major knee surgery while saving his NBA career. You would guess Miles would strongly prefer this news be kept quiet.

And here's the part that really makes you stop and think: At the time this became public, Darius Miles was not an NBA player, and was not an employee of the NBA team. He took the test while he worked for the Blazers. But this fallout has all been since the April termination of his contract. What is the NBA doing sharing his private medical information with the teams? Isn't that a bit bizarre?

On the other hand, I can see why the League did tell the teams. He just worked out for the Celtics. Let's just say that Boston liked what they saw, and put Miles on the list of players to offer a 10-day contract to in the middle of next season.

They make all their moves in the interim with that in mind. Then they offer him the contract, and the contract goes to the League office for approval ... and then the Celtics learn that he'd be suspended for the duration of the contract they're offering, and beyond.

If you were Danny Ainge in that situation, I could see that you might be asking the NBA: "How long have you known this? Would it have killed you to have told me?"

Even if Miles were still an NBA employee, the leaking of this information seems, to my reading, to violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Section 3, paragraph A of the collective bargaining agreement begins like this:

Other than as reasonably required in connection with the suspension or disqualification of a player, the NBA, the Teams, and the Players Association, and all of their members, affiliates, agents, consultants, and employees, are prohibited from publicly disclosing information about the diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, test results, compliance, or the fact of participation of a player in the Program.

If he's unemployed, is it reasonably required to disclose this? Tough one.

There is one other really weird part of this story. Quick did not just report that Miles would be suspended. He reported that Miles would be suspended for ten games.

Ten games is a very specific number. As Quick points out, if you take that information to the CBA, you'll find that there are two ways to get that suspension: For a fourth marijuana offense, or for a first performance enhancing drugs offense.

In the event that a ten-game suspension is for a fourth marijuana offense, it would follow a five-game suspension (for the third-marijuana offense).

Darius Miles has not had a five-game suspension, and the League confirms that if he had had an earlier five-game suspension, we would know about it.

So, you do your own police work on what came up on Miles' drug test, you know?

And then consider another line from the CBA, which is about "SPEDS" (translation: Steroids or Performance Enhancing Drugs):

If a player is suspended or disqualified for conduct involving a SPED, the particular SPED shall be publicly disclosed along with the announcement of the applicable penalty.

So there is this oddity, if "the NBA, the Teams, and the Players Association, and all of their members, affiliates, agents, consultants, and employees" make a player's SPED suspension public -- which you could argue has already happened -- they are apparently also to make clear which SPED it was.

Which leaves us ... I don't know where.

Honestly, at this point the best I can hope for is that Darius Miles makes it back to the NBA and plays many years. (Yes, I'm a Blazer fan, and yes, that would not be great for my team. But there are, I begrudgingly acknowledge, things that matter more than the on-court success of the Portland Trail Blazers.) In that case, all this would likely be forgotten one day. A footnote.

If, however, Darius Miles does not make it back, despite reportedly having at least one good workout, then there will always be the concern that the NBA's e-mail to the teams, and/or the leaking of medical information about an unemployed player, could be seen as factors keeping Miles from lucrative employment.

And in that case, I could see things getting ugly.