Miles not sure why he failed drug test, won't appeal 10-game suspension
Speaking at length Tuesday for the first time since his suspension was announced by the NBA over the summer, Miles said he never took diet pills -- the over-the-counter medication in which the banned stimulant he tested positive for, phentarmine, is most commonly found -- and had never taken any medication other than what was prescribed by Portland's doctors and trainers.
"I wish I knew. I really do wish I knew, but [Celtics president] Danny Ainge told me 'leave it alone,' so I left it alone," Miles said.
The NBA e-mailed teams over the summer to alert them to Miles' pending suspension after it became clear he was serious about a comeback. The Portland Trail Blazers released him and had an insurance company on the hook for his salary after an independent physician confirmed the team doctor's opinion that Miles would never be able to return from microfracture surgery on his right knee.
The move allowed the Blazers to remove the remaining $18 million and two seasons left on Miles' old six-year, $48 million contract off their salary cap, but that money would go back on Portland's cap -- reducing their max available cap space next summer from roughly $30 million to $21 million -- if Miles is able to play in 10 NBA games.
As it is, if Miles makes the Celtics (who have 16 players in camp, with Miles and Sam Cassell the only ones with non-guaranteed contracts), he would be ineligible to suit up until Boston's 11th game, Nov. 15 at Milwaukee. If Miles were to play in that game and eight of the next nine, he'd have an opportunity to both seek revenge against his old team and kill two-thirds of their cap space for next summer if he steps onto the court for what would be his 10th game, Dec. 5 when Portland travels to Boston.
The 26-year-old Miles, who has not played in an NBA game since the 2005-06 season, said he worked out for Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix and New Jersey before deciding to to take a shot at replacing James Posey for the defending NBA champions.
He said there is no pain, only stiffness, in his surgically repaired right knee, and he was the fastest big man on the court Tuesday afternoon when coach Doc Rivers ordered the losing team from a scrimmage to run 17 cross-court wind sprints, with the enticement that the first big man to do eight would not have to finish all 17. Miles also bragged that he had dunked over rookie Bill Walker during his two months of workouts with Celtics players over the summer. He did not seem bitter over the drug suspension, although he admitted his willingness to appeal was altered when he learned that the lost earnings from the suspension would be deducted from his Celtics' contract, not his more lucrative Blazers' deal.
"I'll just serve my suspension. I could have gone to a team that would have me to appeal it and fight it, but I went to a team that told me to leave it alone, so I'll leave it alone," Miles said. "What's better than to come back from an injury and play for the champs? That makes me look good and other teams look bad."
ESPN.com senior writer Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.