New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been fined $50,000 by the league for "recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct," according to announcement on Wednesday from Rod Thorn, the league's president of basketball operations.
In plainer terms, those "recurring instances" refer to two situations in the past week in which the 28-year-old Smith was seen pulling the laces, or attempting to pull the laces, of an opposing player while boxing out at the free throw line.
During the Knicks' 92-80 win in Dallas over the Mavericks on Jan. 5, Smith was seen untying the laces of forward Shawn Marion while Dirk Nowitzki shot free throws. The league subsequently issued a warning to Smith, but the swingman pulled the antic again.
The following game, in a win at home against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 7, Smith was seen reaching for the laces of center Greg Monroe while both were boxing out with Pistons forward Josh Smith shooting free throws. After the game, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson told the media he would talk to Smith about it:
"He shouldn’t be doing stuff like that. I’m going to talk to him more about it when I get in [the locker room]. His focus should be on just playing basketball. That’s what it’s about. Those are things you just don’t do. You think you’ve seen it all and something creeps in.’’
Last season's Sixth Man of the Year reportedly told league officials during his meeting with them this week to discuss the incident with Marion that Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard pulled the stunt on him in a game last week but wasn't caught, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Footage of the incidents: