New York, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The NBA has suspended New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith five games without pay for violating the league’s anti-drug program, the league announced Friday.
The league said Smith, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, will start serving the suspension in the first game for which he is eligible and physically able to play.
Smith will lose $252,000 under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement that a player loses 1/110th of his salary for each game he is suspended.
The Knicks re-signed Smith in July to a three-year contract worth approximately $18 million, with a player option for the third year.
After re-signing with the Knicks, Smith underwent patellar tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. He is expected to miss two to six weeks of the regular season.
The 27-year-old Smith bagged the league’s Sixth Man award after averaging 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season.
Smith played a key role in the Knicks’ regular-season success but was a primary reason for the team’s failure in the playoffs after he made just 33 percent of his field goal attempts.
The NBA declined to comment specifically on Smith’s violation. It is unclear if Smith will appeal.
Smith has been suspended several times during his nine-year career for other infractions. He was suspended seven games in 2009 for his role in a crash that killed a passenger in his car in 2007 and resulted in a 90-day prison sentence.
Smith also was suspended 10 games for his involvement in the Denver Nuggets-Knicks brawl in 2006. More recently, Smith was banned for Game 4 of the Knicks-Celtics first-round playoff series this past season after he elbowed Jason Terry.
Without Smith, the Knicks will need first-round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. to fill the scoring void off the bench.