J.R. Smith is eager for a new season after he ended the last one in ugly fashion. It turns out he will have to wait a bit before making that fresh start.
Smith will be suspended for violating the NBA’s drug policy, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports. His punishment will be five games, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, indicating the violation was testing positive for marijuana.[tweet https://twitter.com/WojYahooNBA/status/376042562072870912 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/FisolaNYDN/status/376043150998896640 align=’center’]
A five-game suspension suggests this is at least Smith’s third positive test. The NBA’s drug program requires a player to submit to drug counseling or treatment for a first positive test, a $25,000 fine for a second positive test and a five-game suspension for a third positive test, with each subsequent violation resulting in a suspension five games longer than the previous suspension. Collective bargaining rules prohibit the league from publicly disclosing details of a player’s testing or treatment, however, except in the case of a suspension or dismissal.
Players are randomly tested four times during the season and twice during the offseason.
Smith, 27, averaged career highs of 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season while winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. He scuffled badly in the playoffs, though, missing 109 of the 163 shots he attempted and literally shooting the Knicks out of several games against the Celtics and Pacers.
Smith’s availability for the beginning of the 2013-14 season was already in doubt due to offseason knee surgery, which he delayed until after signing a three-year, $18 million contract extension with the Knicks this summer. This is the third-longest suspension of his career, after the 10-game ban he was given in 2006 for his role in an on-court brawl and seven games in 2007 for causing an accident that killed a passenger in the car he was driving.