Cleveland Cavaliers forward J.R. Smith has been accused of choking a teenager while in New York City earlier this month, according to a report by the New York Daily News.
He has not been arrested.
The assault allegedly occurred in the early morning hours of November 13th -- the date of the Cavaliers-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden -- outside of Artichoke Basille's Pizza in Chelsea. The restaurant is located on the same block as popular celebrity hangout 1OAK nightclub.
Justin Brown, a 19-year-old high school student from Harlem, told police that he and a group of friends had requested a photo with Smith. When he refused, the teens mocked him for being "kicked out" of New York in the trade to Cleveland.
Then, an incensed Smith allegedly shoved Brown up against an exterior wall of the pizzeria and gripped his neck with both hands.
Police were on the scene at that time, but a report wasn't filed until Brown went to the precinct three days later. Daily News sources say the original report was lost.
Smith's lawyer Alex Spiro has since disputed the claims. "The allegation is completely false," Spiro said.
"We are aware of the story and have spoken to J.R. about it," Cavs general manager David Griffin said in a statement to ESPN.com. "There will be no further comment from the team on this at this point."
Soon after the story broke, Smith tweeted a warning.
He and the Cavaliers will host the Wizards on December 1 (7 p.m. CSN). They will play in Washington on January 6 and February 28, 2016, before wrapping up the season series in Cleveland on March 4.
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On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.
Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.
You can listen to the episode right here:
You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!
An undiagnosed illness has convinced Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to step away from the team indefinitely, the team announced on Monday. Assistant coach Larry Drew will take over in the interim.
Lue, 40, is hoping to address his health issues in time to return before the year is out. According to a statement on the team's website, he has been under the weather for quite some time.
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Here is what Lue said on the matter in a press release:
I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.
While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.
That is scary stuff and certainly much bigger than basketball. But the surprising news happens to come at a crucial time in the Cavs' season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference with only 13 games remaining before the playoffs.
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The Cavs are just a half-game ahead of both the Wizards and Pacers in the standings. They will also have to reincorporate All-Star Kevin Love, likely sometime this week.
That is a lot for Drew to deal with while Lue recovers and it adds another wrinkle to a Cavs' season that has been characterized by change.
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