J.R. Smith, the Knicks’ high-flying and high-scoring reserve guard, has been suspended five games by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, it was announced Friday.
Smith, who was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year last season after averaging 18.1 points a game, is rehabilitating his left knee after surgery to repair the patella tendon and lateral meniscus. He will be suspended without pay for first five games once he’s activated in November or December.
Ron Klempner, the NBA players’ union chief executive, released a statement but did not specify what the drug violation was for or whether Smith planned to appeal.
“There is a collectively bargained process in place, established by the NBA and the players association, and until that process has played itself out, it would be inappropriate for the NBPA or J.R. to make further statements about the matter,” Klempner said. “We all look forward to a resolution in due course.”
Yahoo! Sports reported that Smith had tested positive for marijuana.
Smith, 27, is a nine-year veteran entering his third season with the Knicks. He’s coming off his best season, during which he averaged 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals a game.
In his NBA career, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard has averaged 13.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals a game, while shooting 42.6% from the field and 36.7% from long range.