Odom, Rider Get Drug Bans

Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Clippers and Isaiah Rider of the Los Angeles Lakers were suspended for five games each by the NBA on Wednesday for violating the league's anti-drug program.

No further details were given. The NBA is not allowed to disclose information about the testing or treatment of any player in the program.

Odom, a 6-foot-10 forward, is averaging a team-high 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds a game in his second season with the Clippers. He finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting last season.

"The NBA's drug policy is completely supervised by the league. Lamar's top priority right now has got to be to fulfill whatever is required of him under this program, and then go from there," Clippers vice president of basketball operations Elgin Baylor said in a statement.

"Our organization will be fully supportive of the positive choices he makes in going forward. He will have resources to help him and there will be many people willing to talk to him and guide him through this. He can if he chooses use this as a learning experience, and come out better as a result. We will be there for him, but it is ultimately up to him," Baylor said.

For Rider, it is the latest trouble in a turbulent career. He has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and suspensions during his eight-year career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks and Lakers.

Rider was suspended for a total of 12 games during his three years in Portland, including three by the NBA in 1997 for spitting at a fan in Detroit.

In May 1997, he was convicted of marijuana possession and later pleaded no contest to possessing unregistered cellular phones.

Lakers spokesman John Black, citing the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, refused to comment on Rider's latest suspension.

A talented scorer, Rider has averaged just over 18 points a game during his career. But he is getting just 8.1 points in 18.7 minutes this season with Los Angeles.

©2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed


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