View Full Version : Knicks' Smith sues Chinese team to recoup $1M in fines

06-21-2012, 07:47 PM
Knicks' Smith sues Chinese team to recoup $1M in fines

Knicks guard J.R. Smith is disputing he missed 80 practices with his Chinese team — virtually all of them — in a lawsuit filed with FIBA to recoup the $1,078,500 withheld from his salary.

In the complaint obtained by The Post, a four-page list of other alleged transgressions depict a player who had blatant disregard for the Zhejiang Chouzhou rules during his short tenure. Smith did not attend a series of pregame team meetings and took trips to Shanghai, Bejing and the United Kingdom during practice days without telling the club. Every missed practice was denoted by date from Oct. 25, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012.

The Chinese team also alleged it requested Smith’s sister Stephanie be sent home to the U.S., claiming she was “abusive’’ and “the root’’ of Smith missing virtually every practice because she had him take her shopping. (Stephanie reportedly choked a Chinese fan during a game).

The case will be ruled upon in the coming weeks by a FIBA arbitrator in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Chinese team, which claims in documents Smith “breached’’ his contract, has until Monday to answer Smith’s complaint. The contract states FIBA would rule on a dispute.

Smith was scheduled to make $2.88M — signing Sept. 13 during the NBA lockout. The Chinese club agreed to pay all his taxes. The complaint alleges Smith received just $1.82 million of his wage and didn’t pay him $18,500 in bonuses based on victories.

Smith’s offcourt behavior has been an issue in the NBA, but the Knicks are leaning toward bringing him back even if he opts out by Tuesday’s deadline and becomes a free agent July 1.

Smith has had his shaky moments since signing in February, including the NBA fining him $25,000 for tweeting a partially naked photo of a woman in his Milwaukee hotel room. Last month, he was arrested in Miami Beach on an outstanding bench warrant for driving a scooter without a license.

“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.’’

The complaint argues Smith did not miss a single game — playing all 32 — and led the club in scoring average (36.4) and hence “showed outstanding performance.’’

Smith’s attorneys also contest the Chinese team did not give him any formal notice they were bothered by any missed practices nor did they issue any fines until after the season, after which they prepared a list of his alleged mishaps which totaled well over $600,000 in fines. The complaint said the Chinese team had a right to terminate his contract if he missed multiple practices and chose not to.

However, the Chinese team states in documents it tried to terminate his contract but was thwarted for vague reasons.

“We were delighted to terminate our agreement with J.R. Smith early on in the season but was asked not to by the agent involved because it would jeopardize the image of the player for NBA purposes,’’ the team wrote.

After his Chinese experience ended. Smith signed with the Knicks a one-year deal with an option for a second year at $2.6 million. Smith has until Tuesday to inform the Knicks he wants to exercise the option. His market value in the new CBA is a mystery because of his baggage and playoff disaster in which he shot 31.6 percent against. Miami, including a 5-of-28 showing from the 3-point line.

While other clubs may deem him a big risk, the Knicks, desperate at guard with Iman Shumpert’s injury, are likely to take advantage of CBA rules and give him a 20-percent raise that would allow him to re-sign without the club using any of their $5 million midlevel exception.

Smith is represented by CAA, but the case is being assisted by a Turkish law firm. CAA lawyer, Jennifer Duberstein, did not return phone calls.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/court_jester_kWb8WNec4ZqIXZzOma6LFI#ixzz1yTU4oDR7

NYpost (http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/court_jester_kWb8WNec4ZqIXZzOma6LFI)

06-22-2012, 02:06 AM
This is a pretty strange situation. While I definitely believe J.R. missed practices (he was chronically late and periodically absent from Nuggets practices), eighty sure does seem like a lot.

From last February, here's some more background on the situation:

J.R. Smith’s Chinese team fined him more than $1 million
By Eric Freeman | Ball Don't Lie – Thu, Feb 23, 2012 7:48 PM EST

J.R. Smith reads a children's book to his Chinese fans (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty).

With J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin already back in the NBA and Aaron Brooks and Wilson Chandler soon to return, four players' lockout-inspired China Basketball Association adventures are essentially over. What once seemed like a good way to make money and increase international star power during an NBA break turned out to be a bit of a mess. Foreign stars are expected to do a lot overseas, and the expectations for notable NBA players were even higher. That things didn't work out perfectly was mostly due to a lack of communication and the cultural divide.

[Rewind: J.R. Smith injured in Chinese debut]

Yet to say that these players didn't get along with their teams equally is entirely wrong, because Smith broke all sorts of records for team-player animosity during his season with Zhejiang Chouzhou. In November, Smith raised the ire of the team when he handled an apparent knee injury in poor form — they even thought he was faking it. And while things appeared to improve once Stephon Marbury played peacemaker — yes, that really happened — it turns out the relationship between Smith and Zhejiang was strained until he left a few weeks ago.

In fact, they ended up fining him more than $1 million over the course of his employment. From Jon Pastuszek at NIUBBALL.com (via SLAM):

According to a report published by NetEase, Smith had US $1.06 million deducted from his salaryover the course of the season for missing practices. Most of the missed practices came during pre-season while his team, Zhejiang Chouzhou, was getting ready for the start of the regular season. The sum was deducted from his salary, a final number that represented about one-third of his total salary.

Zhejiang Chouzhou general manager, Zhao Bing, said that the team was simply enforcing a clause in Smith's signed contract and that the team gave him ample warning throughout.

"This was the arrangement when he came to the team," said Zhao. "Every practice we let him know. If he expressed to us that he wasn't going to come to practice, we'd tell him that in accordance with our contract, we're deducting money from your salary. And he'd always get back to us with, 'Whatever. If you're going to take it, then just take it.'"

The article adds that Zhao Bing repeatedly told J.R. about the seriousness of the situation, but that he continued with the attitude that it was an unimportant issue for him.

We can only assume that Smith missed practices to spend time with his pet panda, named "Brad Garrett" in honor of his favorite actor on "Everybody Loves Raymond."

It's no great surprise to hear that Smith was checked out mentally, since he hasn't exactly been the most focused or authority-friendly player in the NBA, either. Still, it's a little bizarre to think that he voluntarily lost one-third of his salary in a job that seemed valuable primarily for the money involved; it's not as if J.R. really loved playing for Zhejiang or feels a special debt to Chinese basketball. This gig was a paycheck gig, and yet he wasn't that interested in maximizing his paycheck. Where's the sense there?

Let this be yet another reminder that J.R. Smith defies expectations and explanations as a rule. This is the kind of guy he is. It makes him fascinating and frustrating in equal measures.
yahoo (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/j-r-smith-chinese-team-fined-him-more-004858221.html)