Hawks suspend, fine forward Josh Smith
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Hawks suspended forward Josh Smith one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for “conduct detrimental to the team,” the Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement Wednesday.
Smith will miss Wednesday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets.
“Josh and I discussed the issue and he understood and accepted this course of action,” Ferry said. “We are confident that he will respond positively, learn from this experience and come back with a renewed sense of purpose to the team moving forward.”
The Hawks (21-16) are struggling, especially offensively, in their past nine games, seven of which were on the road. The Hawks were 2-7 in that stretch, losing four in a row and have lost to the Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards.
Before the losing seven of nine games, the Hawks were 19-9 and had the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Two weeks into January, Atlanta is in sixth place, just a game ahead of the surging Boston Celtics.
The low point might have been Monday when the Hawks were beaten 97-58 by the Chicago Bulls in a game in which they scored five points in the second quarter and 20 in the first half.
“Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses,” Smith said in a statement. “I understand and respect the team’s actions and just want to get back on the court to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates. I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans for not being available for tonight’s game.”
Smith is averaging 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals this season.