New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith was suspended without pay for five regular-season games by the NBA on Friday for violating the anti-drug program.
Smith, coming off offseason surgery on his left knee, will sit out the first five games for which he is eligible and physically able to play. Smith had patella tendon surgery and arthroscopy that will keep him from joining the Knicks when they open training camp late this month.
"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," Ron Klempner, the union’s acting executive director, said in a statement. "We all look forward to a resolution in due course."
Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season and helped shoot the Knicks into the playoffs before struggling in the postseason. He averaged 18.1 points during the regular season.