Injured JR Smith clashes with his CBA team
Updated: 2011-11-22 13:20
By Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)
When Zhejiang Golden Bulls signed NBA free agent JR Smith in September, they were notified he used to be a troublemaker.
JR Smith rests in a courtside seat after getting injured during a game between Guangdong Hongyuan and Zhejiang Chouzhou in the first round of Chinese basketball Association league on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]
They just did not expect the trouble to come so quickly.
In his debut game for the Golden Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association league on Sunday, JR Smith contributed 20 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a 78-111 road loss to Guangdong Hongyuan, a not-so-impressive outcome considering his reportedly $3 million salary with the team, which is the highest in CBA. What was worse, he suffered a knee injury with 5:25 remaining. The video clip showed he twisted his knee in a penetration play, and then limped off the court in agony.
The hapless star, appearing to be in a discontented mood, covered his head with a towel at a courtside seat and declined medical attention from the team. After the game, he left with his sister, back to the hotel.
On Monday morning, he updated his Twitter and Weibo, saying he was on his way to Beijing to see a doctor, which triggered a spat with the team's manager Zhao Bing.
An irate Zhao posted a warning to Smith on Weibo Monday afternoon about his reckless leave, saying that the club wanted him back as soon as possible, or "he will face the consequences."
Smith, on the other end, responded 40 minutes later, saying the purpose of his leave is to get healthy, and suggested Zhao "pick another profession" if he could not understand that.
He also denied that he was taking advantage of the injury to leave China, saying his goal is not to leave but to win, and health is one of the conditions of winning.
According to a Sina report, Smith underwent an MRI on his knee Tuesday morning in Beijing and will later fly back to Yiwu city in Zhejiang to meet the team to prepare for a home opener tonight.
Smith communicated with the team Monday night and reiterated his willingness to stay, says the report, but it will be based on his condition and he will negotiate with the team after his return.
An insider from the Golden Bulls reveals that the team was planning to waive Smith, who has been too demanding.
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.