J.R. Smith, the Knicks reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, has been suspended by the league for the first five games of the coming NBA season for failing a drug test.
The league made the news official but Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports had the story first, before it was official.
The suspension is for the first five games Smith is able to play, remember he had off-season knee surgery and there are questions about whether he would be ready to go by opening night. Whenever he is able to come back, that is when the suspension starts.
Five games is the telltale suspension for having tested positive for marijuana use three times in the annual league drug tests. League policy dictates that the first two times a player tests positive he is sent for treatment but there are no fines or suspensions, and nothing is made public. On the third positive test you get a five game suspension.
Smith is a key cog in the Knicks offense, having averaged 18.1 points a game last season. That helped lead to him getting a new three-year, $18 million contract this summer.
Smith has been suspended before: 10 games for a 2006 brawl between the Knicks and Nuggets, seven games in 2007 for his role in an auto accident that left a person dead (he got a 90 day prison sentence with that one, also), and three games for a 2007 nightclub incident.
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers still have Paul Pierce under contract. Not many minutes for him, but he has a roster spot.
Pierce probably wants come back but is thinking it all over, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Pierce has been debating this with himself for a while now.
Pierce saw a dramatic drop off in production and how much he was used last season by Rivers. Pierce averaged a career-low 6.1 points per game on an also career low 48.9 true shooting percentage. His PER of 8.2 was also a career low. You get the idea. By the end of the season Pierce was mostly an afterthought for Doc Rivers (although he did start one game after Blake Griffin was out and the Clippers’ playoff dreams were toast).
Pierce would be more mentor than a key player on the court, but he would be on probably the third best team in the West, a team that capable of making a deep playoff run. Does he want to do that for one more season? You know Doc would welcome him.