NBA suspends Knicks' J.R. Smith five games for anti-drug program violation
The NBA announced Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended for five games without pay in response to a violation of the league's anti-drug program.
The league did not specify how Smith violated the program, however Yahoo! Sports reported that Smith "tested positive for marijuana." A player who tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs receives a 20-game suspension for his first violation. A third failed marijuana test would trigger an automatic five-game suspension.
Smith, 27, was named the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year after averaged a career-high 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists last season. He is currently recovering from a July surgery on his left knee. Per league rules, his suspension will begin "with the first game of the 2013-14 season for which he is eligible and physically able to play."
The Knicks re-signed Smith to a three-year, $17.9 million contract this summer. He is on the books for $5.6 million in 2013-14; a five-game suspension without pay will cost him roughly $253,000.
This isn't the first time Smith has been sanctioned by the NBA. His previous suspensions include: 10 games in 2006 for his role in an on-court fight and seven games in 2009 in response to a guilty plea in a reckless driving incident. He was also suspended for three games by the Nuggets in 2007 for his role in an incident at a Denver nightclub.
In addition, Smith drew a $5,000 fine from the NBA for flopping during the 2013 playoffs and a $25,000 fine in 2012 for posting an inappropriate photograph of a woman to his Twitter account.
New York is set to host Milwaukee for its regular season opener on Oct. 30, but it's not yet clear when Smith's knee will be good to go. Blazers guard Terrel Harris was suspended for five games for an anti-drug program violation back in August.