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.