Knicks' Smith sues Chinese team for $1M
New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith is suing the Chinese basketball team Zhejiang Chouzhou for money the team withheld from his salary, while he was playing there during the lockout-shortened NBA season, according to the New York Post.
The team reportedly failed to pay Smith's entire contract because of a blatant disregard for team rules, which includes missing 80 practices over his short time overseas.
Smith signed on to play in China in September of 2011, for a one-year contract of $2.88 million. Smith's filed complaint claims that he only received $1.82 million. The eight-year NBA veteran's complaint states that Smith "showed outstanding performance" in his time in China, playing in all 32 games and leading the team in points with 36.4 points per game.
Smith's people claim that while the team had their opportunity to terminate Smith's contract after he had missed practices, they chose not to do so. Zhejiang Chouzhou, on the other hand, claims that they were persuaded not to terminate Smith's contract due to the damage it could cost his reputation in the NBA.
"We were delighted to terminate our agreement with J.R. Smith early on in the season but was asked not to by the agent involved because it would jeopardize the image of the player for NBA purposes," the team said.
Smith averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 35 games with the Knicks this past season.