J.R. Smith suffers potentially major knee injury in China


This is the nightmare scenario, for both teams and players.

Nuggets swingman J.R. Smith has apparently suffered a knee injury in his first game for his Chinese team, Zhejiang. It was a non-contact injury as he cut into the lane. We do not yet know the extent of the injury (you can watch the video below) but according to NuiBBall.com he could not walk on his own and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

Smith would have been a free agent after his stint in China and would have been sought after as probably the best scoring guard available in this free agent class. The Nuggets were expected to try to keep him but a lot of teams could use a potential sixth man of the year like Smith, so he would have been in demand.

If this is a serious injury, it could keep him out for most if not all of this coming season. It also would put a real damper on his ability to get that big next contract, what likely would have been the biggest of his career.

It is the risk players have going overseas (and why them getting insurance for their deals has been a big deal). It’s the risk owners run as more and more players look overseas, key cogs in their future could be injured and set back.

The highlight of the injury is at the :25 mark of this video (via NBA247365.com).

It’s official, J.R. Smith signs to play in China next season

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What is the Chinese word for “gunner?”

That word might now be J.R. Smith. The talented, athletic Denver swingman who never saw a shot he didn’t like has signed to play in China for next season, according to reports out of China via Nuibball.com as well as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. He will be the most talented player in that league.

The deal is Zhejiang Chouzhou for $3 million — the richest deal in Chinese league history — and he cannot leave the team before next March, according to the reports. The Chinese Basketball Association has put in a rule banning opt-out contracts and only allowing NBA free agents to sign there. Smith had been close to a deal with the richest team in China — Shanxi — but that fell apart recently.

Smith joins fellow former Nugget Wilson Chandler in China and even in the same province, although they play for different teams.

Zhejiang Chouzhou is the team that last season had Mike James and Josh Boone last season.