Tag:J.R. Smith
Posted on: November 23, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: November 23, 2011 11:30 am

Zhejiang GM: J.R. Smith faked knee injury

Posted by Ben Golliverj-r-smith

The Far East is starting to look more and more basketball's version of the Wild, Wild West.

As we've noted recently, Denver Nuggets free agent guard J.R. Smith suffered an apparent knee injury while playing for the Zhejiang Chouzhou Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association over the weekend. Smith underwent medical testing, including an MRI, which came back negative, but he exchanged some words publicly because Smith wanted to undergo his own testing independent of the team's doctors. 

That spat has grown into a full-fledged public beef. Niubball.com reports that Zhao Bing, Zhejiang's general manager, used China's version of Twitter to call out Smith for leaving the team to pursue medical treatment and then later called a press conference to suggest that he was exaggerating the severity of the injury in the first place. 

“We already know the results of J.R. Smith’s medical examination,” Zhao said to reporters earlier today. “He’s coming back this afternoon to Yiwu to meet with the team. Tonight we will call the owner, head coach and high level people from the front office for a face-to-face meeting with Smith to discuss the situation. Afterwards, we will come up with a punishment for his unauthorized departure.”

“We don’t have a problem with him worrying about his health, but he should obey the arrangements the club made for him. We set up an medical exam for him, but he refused the one we provided for him. I have no idea why. It’s not like the team doesn’t have proper medical equipment, you can get an MRI on your knee anywhere. For an injured player, we will certainly make sure the player is properly cared for. But, Smith didn’t obey the club’s arrangements.”

Zhao even went to far as to suggest that Smith was faking his injury in a possible attempt to go home.

“Everyone saw the pain on Smith’s face after he got hurt. Compare that to the results of his exam. We’re all intelligent people, we should all know what’s going on here. When you compare his performance on the court with the game’s final result, you’ll realize. When he was injured, would he have had that big of a reaction [if the score was closer]?”

That's a brutal crossing of the line that you would not often see in the NBA, where private health information is legally protected and discretion is a way of life. Occasionally, you'll hear a player bag on his teammate for being out of shape or slow to recover. Rarely, you'll hear a coach imply that a player didn't show up to camp in condition or that he fails to bring sufficient energy on a regular basis. 

But a GM calling a press conference to accuse his star player of faking an injury and to wonder aloud why he might seek independent medical testing, something that is not uncommon in the NBA, especially when it comes to knee injuries. That's unheard of. An NBA player's body is his livelihood and no culture gap or language barrier should get in the way of that. 

Smith's coach is later quoted by Niubball.com saying that Smith has regularly skipped practices, which would be an obvious underlying motivation for the team's frustration. It's more than reasonable for the club to expect Smith to show up on time and to use its medical services for routine issues. But to call him out so egregiously on a sensitive issue serves no purpose except to further anger an already volatile personality. Those are kerosene on the fire type words that almost guarantee this Mr. Smith Goes To China experiment will explode.

Hat tip: ProBasketballTalk
Posted on: November 22, 2011 9:36 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 9:41 am

Smith resumes play in China after negative MRI

By Matt Moore 

J.R. Smith suffered a potentially significant knee injury Sunday for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, and subsequently got into a spat with ownership about his pursuit of consultation. But there's good news. NIUBball.net reports that an MRI for Smith was negative and he rejoined the team Tuesday night, putting in 15-6-4 in a win. That's a huge relief for Smith and his agent, as he's an unrestricted free agent whenever the lockout ends and is in line for a sizeable contract offer considering his age and production. This is the money contract for Smith and he's in line to cash in. A knee injury would jeopardize that.  

But all's not all well that ends well, as NIUBBall.com reports that Smith's pursuit of the MRI in Beijing instead of with team doctors has them investigating what disciplinary measures are at their disposal. It's hard to see the team really wanting to take this to the end of its available measures, considering Smith was just pursuing what he felt was best for his health, not violating team rules out of some entertainment option. 

Players who have played in China had warned NBA players before that the culture is significantly different there, and this might be an example of this. We'll have to see how the situation plays out between Smith and his new team.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 10:51 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:00 am

J.R. Smith and Zhejiang in spat after injury

By Matt Moore 

J.R. Smith suffered a knee injury this weekend for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in China, his first game in the Chinese Basketball Association. But it's after that when things got weird. The Wall Street Journal reports that Smith declined to receive medical attention from the team, despite strict team rules, and instead sought out his own care in Beijing. The team did not like that too much: 
It’s unclear how severe Mr. Smith’s injury is. Zhao Bing, the Golden Bulls’ general manager, said the player repeatedly declined medical treatment from the team and arranged his own treatment in Beijing instead. “We warned him that he’s not allowed to go to Beijing without a proper medical check,” Mr. Zhao said, expressing his displeasure at Mr. Smith’s disobedience. “He just wouldn’t listen.”

Mr. Smith is “an experienced basketball player and a big name in NBA,” Mr. Zhao said. But “I think he should have been aware that CBA is not an easy game to play either.”
via J.R. Smith Limps into Spat as Locked-Out NBAers Get Going in China - China Real Time Report - WSJ.

But wait, it gets better: 
“We would like to improve ourselves through learning from the NBA players,” Zhejiang’s Mr. Zhao said of his star player’s refusal to heed the team’s medical protocols. “That was just the first game of the season. He really didn’t have to behave like this.”

Mr. Zhao posted a warning to Mr. Smith on Sina Weibo on Monday afternoon, saying the player should return to team as soon as possible “or face the consequences.” Mr. Smith responded in English less than an hour later, “My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!”
via J.R. Smith Limps into Spat as Locked-Out NBAers Get Going in China - China Real Time Report - WSJ.

One game. It took J.R. Smith one game to get into a dispute with his team in China. That is simultaneously the most predictable and incredible thing in the past week. Smith's got a lot to be concerned about, considering he's an unrestricted free agent looking for his biggest contract to date whenever the NBA picks its schedule back up, if it ever picks its schedule back up.

It's also not uncommon for players to pursue their own treatment. Andrew Bynum notoriously has shaken off the Lakers' medical staff through his various knee injuries to seek out advice and treatment on his own. But the Chinese culture has been said by players who have played there to be very different, and this could spark quite a bit of tension between Smith and the club.

Wilson Chandler, meanwhile, scored 43 points for the Zhejiang Lions (there are a lot of Zhejiang teams). Kenyon Martin has yet to play for the Zhejiang Tigers and Aaron Brooks should play his first game shortly. 

But Smith's injury definitely is serving as a warning to players who are not under contract considering playing overseas during the lockout. There are risks along with the rewards. We'll have to see about the severity of the injury and how his conflict with the team plays out.
Posted on: November 20, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2011 7:22 pm

J.R. Smith suffers knee injury in China

By Matt Moore 

According to multipe reports, J.R. Smith suffered a knee injury Sunday in China playing for Zhejiang in his Chinese Basketball Association debut. A video posted to YouTube showed Smith limping to the sideline after coming down on the knee and hobbling afterwards. It was a non-contact injury. NIUBBall.com reports that Smith was carried to a hospital-bound ambulance by teammates afterwards. 

Smith is an unrestricted free agent whenever the NBA resumes its offseason/preseason, and a significant injury could severely hamper his chances at his most lucrative contract offer to date. Smith is considered one of the best available shooting guards in the free agent market, and an injury could hurt his offers. Smith signed with Zhejiang even after a CBA rule was implemented to prevent teams in the CBA from offering contracts with an NBA opt-out, however NIUBBall.com has reported in the past that the most likely scenario involves teams simply releasing players for whatever guise they want, "chemistry," "personal reasons," etc., in a handshake deal should the NBA resume play. 

We'll update you with Smith's official diagnosis if and when it becomes available. 

(HT: SBNation)
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:37 am

J.R. Smith, Chandler to be released in China

Posted by Royce Young

When J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler signed contracts to play in China during the lockout, it appears they were basically out of the 2011-12 NBA season. The Chinese Basketball Association built in a "no opt-out" clause that wouldn't allow temporary renting of NBA players during the lockout.

Doesn't appear that rule holds much weight. Already Earl Clark has gone to the Far East and returned despite the no opt-out rule. And you might be able to add two more that: J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler.

ESPN.com reports there's a "quiet expectation in Chinese basketball circles is that Chandler and Smith will be released by teams there when NBA lockout ends."

But how? I thought there was a rule stopping this from happening?

There is, but that doesn't mean teams can't waive their players. And if Chandler and Smith's teams were to waive them, they'd be free to return if they want. And not just that, but players can sort of force their team's hand to waive them by asking for it or just refusing to play. Chinese hoops blog NIUBBall put it this way:
Technically, yes that’s true. But you forgot to consider an important point — this is the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association)! Despite what the language of a contract may say, there are no such things as “guaranteed contracts” and “no out-clauses.” When it comes down to it, no team is willing to pay and play an import that doesn’t want to be here. With China’s paper thin pool of domestic talent, imports are relied heavily upon to be the focus of the offense and put up huge numbers. If a player doesn’t want to be here, there’s no reason for a team to keep him on board only to see his performance decline on the stat sheet and the team’s losses stack up in the standings.
As for former Nugget teammate Kenyon Martin, the report says Martin's team Xinjiang wants him to stay with them the entire season. Which if the team wants it and is willing to continue to pay him, then that rule carries weight.

When free agency finally starts in the NBA, Chandler would be a restricted free agent and Smith unrestricted.
Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:30 pm

Earl Clark leaves China, without an NBA out

Posted by Royce Young

Earl Clark was one of the first players to sign in China, despite the scary looking "no NBA out" thing. And yet, somehow, Clark is on his way back to the United States as he's left his Chinese club, Zhejiang Guanghsa.

Obviously there's no NBA season yet, but Clark's back to being an unrestricted free agent. His agent Happy Walters confirmed to HoopsHype that Clark had left, with the reason being "personal reasons," which is actually his girlfriend being pregnant. Initially, the word actually was Clark left because he "couldn't get used to Chinese food."

“They have been very cool and cooperative about it because they understand the reasons,” Walters said to HoopsHype.

Now, you're asking yourself: Wait, i think Clark didn't have an NBA opt-out clause? I thought he couldn't leave until his contract was fulfilled? NIUBBall has a great explanation as to why:
Technically, yes that’s true. But you forgot to consider an important point — this is the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association)! Despite what the language of a contract may say, there are no such things as “guaranteed contracts” and “no out-clauses.” When it comes down to it, no team is willing to pay and play an import that doesn’t want to be here. With China’s paper thin pool of domestic talent, imports are relied heavily upon to be the focus of the offense and put up huge numbers. If a player doesn’t want to be here, there’s no reason for a team to keep him on board only to see his performance decline on the stat sheet and the team’s losses stack up in the standings.
So players like Kenyon Martin, Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith in reality could just take off any time they're ready. Cite some personal reasons and take off. You may have to buy out a little of your own contract but the truth is, you're not bound to China for a full season. That goes against the way it sounds, but we all kind of knew that there would be a way out.

Why put the no NBA out clause in place then? NIUBBall wisely points out that it's more of a preventative measure than anything else.
The rule wasn’t put in to guarantee that guys like Earl Clark stay the whole year, but rather more as a preventive measure to avoid the insanity that would have ensued if NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade had signed in China. In the CBA’s eyes, superstars in China wouldn’t have raised the level of the National Team, something that the government run league takes very seriously. Plus, having big-name players in China for a month or two only to see them jet back to the States once the NBA lockout ended was not a scenario the CBA ever envisioned as positive for the development of its league.
The first question I asked myself though was, "Is Earl Clark hearing good news brewing on the NBA front and he decided to come home?" That might be a stretch, but whatever the case is, he's out of China when supposedly he wasn't going to be able to get out. And if the NBA finds itself and has a season, you can be sure that Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith probably will have some "personal reasons" that need to be addressed.
Posted on: September 13, 2011 10:31 pm

Report: J.R. Smith signs in China

Posted by Royce Young

Make it two prominant NBA free-agents-to-be that have foregone their 2011-12 season to sign in China. First there was Wilson Chandler. And now there's J.R. Smith.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Smith has signed with Zhejiang Wanma of China Basketball Association. The CBA of course has the no NBA opt-out clause so that means that Smith won't be able to return to the NBA until March at the earliest.

Both Smith and Chandler were a big part of the Nuggets last season so the lockout has already cost Denver two potential big offseason pieces. If Nene signs in China (he a free agent), the Nuggets are going to really regret this whole lockout thing.

Smith's a midlevel player and could be one that feels the casualty of a new bargaining agreement anyway, but there's no way he'll make the same money in China that he would if there was an NBA season. I don't think him signing there is an indication that the season won't happen, but it certainly says that Smith is looking to continue receiving paychecks.

It's a shame because Smith's such an intriguing NBA talent and he was going to make whatever team he went to much more interesting. Though I'm sure George Karl might be quietly pumping a fist right now.

The J.R. Smith Chinese experiment though should replace the NBA season just fine if the lockout cancels it. Because that will be quite the thing to watch Smith play in China. Talk about a reality TV show. Someone should get on that right now.
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 10, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 10:29 pm

Kenyon Martin agrees to record offer in China

Posted by Ben Golliverkenyon-martin

Update (Wednesday, 10:26 p.m.)

The Denver Post reports that Martin has agreed to the deal with Xingiang Guanghui. Yahoo Sports reports that, all told, the deal will be worth $3 million.

Original Post

Anything you can do, I can do better. I can get record offers from the Chinese Basketball Association better than you. No, you can't! Yes, I can. Yes, I can. Yes, I can.

Just days after Denver Nuggets free agent guard J.R. Smith reportedly received a record offer from a Chinese team, Nuggets free agent forward Kenyon Martin has reportedly received offers even larger than Smith's. This gravy train actually began less than two weeks ago when Nuggets free agent forward Wilson Chandler signed a one-year deal with Zhejiang Guangsha.

The Denver Post was first with the story.
Kenyon Martin has received significant interest from two professional teams in the Chinese Basketball Association, which would make him the highest-paid player in the history of that league, a source said today.

The longtime Nuggets power forward is currently weighing his options. If he signed with a team he would make more than the reported $3 million that Nuggets teammate J.R. Smith would make for a Chinese team, the source said.

ESPN.com followed up with a few more details.

Sources told ESPN.com on Friday night that the team Martin has engaged with most seriously is Xinjiang Guanghui ... or the Flying Tigers of Xinjiang. Xinjiang is also among the teams in China that have entered into serious talks with Philadelphia 76ers restricted free agent Thaddeus Young. Yet one source close to the situation says that the Flying Tigers are focusing more now on Martin, with the Post reporting that K-Mart has been offered more than the reported $3 million that Smith has been offered by Shanxi Zhongyu. 

Not that Martin is consulting with the blogosphere on this one, but I would strongly advise that he take a pass on China. Then again, I would have also advised against the "lips on the neck" and getting involved romantically with a female rapper whose lyrics consist exclusively of body parts and profanities (sometimes both at the same time), so that doesn't mean much.

In a recent look at the most risky overseas signings, I pinpointed remaining guaranteed money on a contract, injury history and age as three critical determining factors in assessing whether a move overseas during the lockout was a good idea. While Martin is an unrestricted free agent and therefore wouldn't be putting at risk any money that he's already earned, he is in line for a fairly good sized contract, either from the Nuggets or a suitor in free agency. His best years are behind him, but he's still a physical, intimidating presence who still averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.

But when it comes to injury history and age, the red flags start popping up quickly. Martin is about to turn 34 and likely has no more than two, possibly three, more productive seasons left. What's more, he has multiple microfracture knee surgeries in his past and has missed 165 regular games combined in the last five seasons. That pencils out to 40 percent of all regular season games! He missed nearly half of last season after rehabilitating from another knee injury.

The only way agreeing to play in China makes sense for Martin is if he has come to the conclusion that his body clock is ticking loudly. If that's the case, avoiding a wasted year of salary if the NBA shuts down becomes a greater concern. Otherwise, he's better off simply to wait his turn for another NBA pay day.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com