As reported by NY Post, Knicks guard J.R. Smith is disputing he missed 80 practices with his Chinese team in a lawsuit filed with FIBA to recoup the $1,078,500 withheld from his salary.
For Smith his destination was China to play for the Zhejiang Cyclones. On the court his experience got off to a rocky start when he injured his knee in the opening game. But once back in action he was very successful having multiple 40+ point scoring games, and one where he even scored 60.
Off the court was a totally different story. He was constantly being accused by the team and local media of skipping practices without a legitimate reason. His sister was almost run out of town, with the culmination of sorts when she was involved in more than one fight in the stands with Chinese fans.
Fast forward a few months, and now the Zhejiang Chouzhou is withholding more than a million dollars in salary from Smith, citing that he missed all 80 practices and the amount withheld is the equivalent of a team fine for each practice missed. Smith is outraged and has filed a lawsuit to go after his remaining salary…
In the complaint obtained by The Post, a four-page list of other alleged transgressions depict a player who had blatant disregard for the Zhejiang Chouzhou rules during his short tenure. Smith did not attend a series of pregame team meetings and took trips to Shanghai, Bejing and the United Kingdom during practice days without telling the club. Every missed practice was denoted by date from Oct. 25, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012.
The Chinese team also alleged it requested Smith’s sister Stephanie be sent home to the U.S., claiming she was “abusive’’ and “the root’’ of Smith missing virtually every practice because she had him take her shopping. (Stephanie reportedly choked a Chinese fan during a game).
I guess playing in China isn’t as great an alternative to the NBA as we once thought. But no one tell Stephon Marbury that, as he missed that memo recently when he had a statue of his likeness erected. He doesn’t seem to be coming back to the US any time soon.
[Source NY Post]