JR Smith, Chinese Team Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye

by November 23, 2011
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You’ll never believe this, but JR Smith is going through some drama with the basketball team that’s employing him in China. The good news, however, is that Smith’s knee injury doesn’t appear all that serious. NIUBBALL reports: “After the game, Smith, who was unable to walk on his own, refused to be taken to a nearby hospital in DongGuan, insisting that he instead be taken back to the team hotel. According to a Sina Sports report, once back in the hotel, the club agreed with Smith that he would have an MRI done in Yiwu, the city where the Golden Bulls are based out of, and scheduled him to fly back with the team the next day accordingly. If results showed that there was a major injury, then Smith would be allowed to fly back to the United States to undergo the next step in the recovery process. But early yesterday morning, team general manager, Zhao Bing, received a surprising bit of news: Smith was not going back with the team to Yiwu visit with team doctors like he had originally agreed to. Instead, he had already boarded a plane to Beijing. The change in itinerary went directly in the face of the Zhao, who told him under no circumstances was he allowed to get on a plane out of Yiwu. Smith had made up his mind, however, and once word got back to Zhao that Smith had landed in the capital, he went on Sina Weibo (Chinese Twitter) to publicly warn Smith of the potential consequences for his actions. ‘The club has looked into the situation and we have agreed to warn J.R. about his trip to Beijing,’ Zhao tweeted. ‘We hope he can come back to the team as soon as possible, otherwise he will have to face the consequences.’ Soon after seeing Zhao’s comments, Smith responded on his own Sina Weibo, tweeting ‘My main goal is to get healthy! If you can’t understand that then maybe you should pick another profession!’ Disrespected by Smith’s direct tone, angered by his decision to disobey team orders and incredulous about the doctor’s diagnosis, Zhao went to the press earlier today to issue some stern words. ‘We already know the results of J.R. Smith’s medical examination,’ Zhao said to reporters. ‘He’s coming back this afternoon to Yiwu to meet with the team. Tonight we will call the owner, head coach and high level people from the front office for a face-to-face meeting with Smith to discuss the situation. Afterwards, we will come up with a punishment for his unauthorized departure.We don’t have a problem with him worrying about his health, but he should obey the arrangements the club made for him. We set up an medical exam for him, but he refused the one we provided for him. I have no idea why. It’s not like the team doesn’t have proper medical equipment, you can get an MRI on your knee anywhere. For an injured player, we will certainly make sure the player is properly cared for. But, Smith didn’t obey the club’s arrangements.’ Zhao even went to far as to suggest that Smith was faking his injury in a possible attempt to go home … Amid all the drama, Smith went on Sina Weibo today to profess his desire to stay with Zhejiang. ‘My goal was nor is not to leave! My goal is to win! An for us to win our team must be heathy!’ Smith stayed overnight in Beijing yesterday before having the MRI this morning, the results of which came up negative. According to China Daily, the team had become so fed up with Smith’s lack of respect that they considered cutting him.”