New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith will be suspended without pay for the first five games of the 2013 NBA Season for violating league anti-drug rules, the league announced Friday.
"There is a collectively-bargained process in place, established by the NBA and the Players Association, and until that process has played itself out, it would be inappropriate for the PA or J.R. to make further statements about the matter. We all look forward to a resolution in due course,” said a statement released by the NBA.
Smith, 27, recently signed a three-year, $18 million deal with the Knicks after averaging 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the team last season. Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award, but the Knicks fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Indiana Pacers while he made only 33 percent of his shots.
Shortly after he re-signed with the Knicks, Smith underwent patellar tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. The team said he is expected to miss anywhere from two to six weeks of the regular season. As soon as he is cleared to play, he will begin his suspension, pending a possible appeal. It is unknown as of right now if Smith will appeal.
Under the terms of the NBA collective bargaining agreement, a player loses 1/110th of his salary for each game he is suspended, which means Smith will lose approximately $252,000.
The NBA declined to comment specifically on Smith's violation, but ESPN is reporting the only possible situation in which a player can be banned for five games—no more, no less—is for a third positive test for marijuana.
Smith has a history of being disciplined by the league. He was suspended for seven games in 2009 for his role in a crash that killed a passenger in his car in 2007, which resulted in a 90-day prison sentence. He was also was suspended for 10 games for his involvement in the Denver Nuggets-Knicks brawl in 2006, when he was a member of the Nuggets.