CBA 11/12 First Round: Guangdong Hongyuan v Zhejiang Chouzhou

J.R. Smith’s demands have Chinese team frustrated


Somewhere, George Karl is just nodding along silently. Not his problem anymore.

J.R. Smith was back on the floor with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls, the team he inked a $3 million deal to play for through the full season into next March.

But he is getting much more than just that salary, there are a host of perks — and it’s still not enough, reports China Daily (via Ball Don’t Lie). His attitude and demands have the team ready to waive him, to just pay him to go away.

According to Zhao Bing, the club had provided Smith with a presidential suite at a cost of 6,880 yuan per day, arranged a special chef and spent 700,000 yuan in insurance as he requested. However, he wanted another villa in Shanghai or Hangzhou with a chauffeured car to commute for training in Yiwu.

Ding Wei, the team’s head coach, also disclosed that Smith has missed training three times with illness excuses. And the team discovered that once he was actually shopping in Shanghai.

They haven’t yet, he was on the floor with them Tuesday after his scary knee injury. But everything is not going smoothly in China, and Nuggets front office types feel a kinship with their brethren of the Zhejiang Golden Bulls.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.