Report: J.R. Smith sues Chinese basketball team over withheld salary

Thursday June 21st, 2012

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith is suing a Chinese basketball team over $1 million in withheld salary. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

During the NBA lockout, New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith played for the Chinese team Zhejiang Chouzhou. Now, he has filed a lawsuit against the team over more than $1 million of salary withheld because of missed practices and other incidents, reports the New York Post's Marc Berman.

The team alleges that Smith missed 80 practices between October and February, he skipped team meetings and his sister was "abusive." Pro Basketball Talk previously reported that Smith's sister had allegedly been involved in fights with Chinese fans.

Smith denies that he missed 80 practices. His representatives also argue that the team could have terminated his contract for missed practices, but did not.

“It is not possible in the reasonable course of things the player did not attend so many practices [most probably all], held by the club,’’ Smith’s complaint reads. “On the contrary, the player attended many practices and he has presented his excuse for any non-attendances.’’

Berman reports that a FIBA arbitrator will rule on the case. Smith's total salary with the team was supposed to be $2.88 million. Smith signed with the Knicks after his time in China. He averaged 12.5 points per game in 35 games with New York.

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