Andersen expected to re-sign with Hornets after drug ban lifted

Updated: March 4, 2008, 5:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Chris Andersen is set to make his return from an NBA drug ban after being reinstated by commissioner David Stern on Tuesday.

Chris Andersen

Andersen

Andersen's rights belong to the Hornets, provided they offer him a contract in the next 30 days, which they are expected to do. The team scheduled a news conference following practice Tuesday.

"We were always more concerned with Chris Andersen the person rather than Chris Andersen the player and are pleased that he has taken the appropriate measures to get himself reinstated by the NBA," general manager Jeff Bower said in a statement.

"We will now begin the process of getting him back on the court and back in a Hornets uniform as quickly as possible."

When he was banished, Andersen was earning $3.5 million in the first year of a four-year, $14 million contract he had signed the previous offseason.

If the Hornets want to re-sign him, they would have to tender him a contract for the remainder of the season equal to a prorated portion of his old salary. (If his salary had been above $5 million at the time of his suspension, the maximum the Hornets could have offered him for the rest of the season would have been a prorated portion of $5 million, which was the amount of the midlevel exception at that time.)

Andersen was dismissed and disqualified from the NBA on Jan. 27, 2006 for violating the league's drug policy. He first became eligible to apply for reinstatement to the league at the end of January. Since he was "dismissed and disqualified" for a specific violation, he was forced to wait two years to apply for reinstatement.

According to the league's collective bargaining agreement, a player can be disqualified only for a fourth positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, or a first positive test for "drugs of abuse."

The drugs on that list are amphetamine and its analogs, which include methamphetamine; cocaine; LSD; opiates, including heroin, codeine and morphine; and PCP.

Andersen had not previously been suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Under the CBA, the first positive test for performance-enhancing drugs results in a 10-game suspension.

Andersen has never said publicly which drug he tested positive for, and league and union officials are prohibited under collective bargaining rules from disclosing that information.

Andersen filed a grievance over his banishment and attended an arbitration hearing in New York the following month. An arbitrator denied his grievance in March 2006.

Under NBA labor agreement rules reviewed by ESPN.com, factors expected to be considered by the commissioner's office in reinstating Andersen included the circumstances surrounding his positive drug test, his actions and conduct since his dismissal, his satisfactory completion of a treatment program, and whether he "is judged to possess the requisite qualities of good character and morality."

Andersen also had to provide documentation that he has passed weekly drug tests over the past 12 months, and he could be asked to document whether he has tested alcohol-free over the past six months.

Andersen, 28, averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 32 games in 2006, his fifth season in the NBA, before his dismissal from the league. He played three seasons for the Nuggets before joining the Hornets.

Known as "Birdman" for his high-flying dunks, Andersen was a favorite of Hornets fans.

He is best known for his performance in the NBA's dunk contest in 2005, when he needed eight tries to finish his first dunk.

Andersen was the first player kicked out of the NBA because of drugs since Stanley Roberts in 1999.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan was used in this report.

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