JR Smith Suing His Old Team in China for Fines Over $1 Million

You might recall that JR Smith had over $1 million in salary withheld by his employer in China during the NBA Lockout, and so does he. Very much so, in fact. Smith is suing Zhejiang Chouzhou through FIBA to recoup his money. Reports the NY Post: “Knicks guard J.R. Smith is disputing he missed 80 practices with his Chinese team — virtually all of them — in a lawsuit filed with FIBA to recoup the $1,078,500 withheld from his salary. In the complaint, a four-page list of other alleged transgressions depict a player who had blatant disregard for the Zhejiang Chouzhou rules during his short tenure. Smith did not attend a series of pregame team meetings and took trips to Shanghai, Bejing and the United Kingdom during practice days without telling the club. Every missed practice was denoted by date from Oct. 25, 2011-Feb. 15, 2012. The Chinese team also alleged it requested Smith’s sister Stephanie be sent home to the U.S., claiming she was ‘abusive’ and ‘the root’of Smith missing virtually every practice because she had him take her shopping. (Stephanie reportedly choked a Chinese fan during a game). The case will be ruled upon in the coming weeks by a FIBA arbitrator in Geneva, Switzerland. The Chinese team, which claims in documents Smith ‘breached’ his contract, has until Monday to answer Smith’s complaint. The contract states FIBA would rule on a dispute. Smith was scheduled to make $2.88M — signing Sept. 13 during the NBA lockout. The Chinese club agreed to pay all his taxes. The complaint alleges Smith received just $1.82 million of his wage and didn’t pay him $18,500 in bonuses based on victories. […] The complaint argues Smith did not miss a single game — playing all 32 — and led the club in scoring average (36.4) and hence ‘showed outstanding performance.’ Smith’s attorneys also contest the Chinese team did not give him any formal notice they were bothered by any missed practices nor did they issue any fines until after the season, after which they prepared a list of his alleged mishaps which totaled well over $600,000 in fines. The complaint said the Chinese team had a right to terminate his contract if he missed multiple practices and chose not to. However, the Chinese team states in documents it tried to terminate his contract but was thwarted for vague reasons. ‘We were delighted to terminate our agreement with J.R. Smith early on in the season but was asked not to by the agent involved because it would jeopardize the image of the player for NBA purposes,’ the team wrote.”