GREENBURGH, N.Y. - J.R. Smith said he made a "family decision" and waited until he wrapped up his new contract before having two knee surgeries in July.
"I'm a father and I have two young children to look after, and it made more sense for my family to get a deal done before that," Smith said Monday. "Without a doubt, the best part about it was we had the support of the team. The team supported us. The doc supported us all on the decision. At the end of the day, it was more of a family decision as opposed to anything else."
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If Smith, who signed a three-year deal worth about $18 million, had surgery earlier than July 15, it's possible he would have been able to participate when camp opens Tuesday. The recovery time was estimated at 12 to 16 weeks.
Smith said he's doing well and hopes to be ready for the Knicks' Oct. 30 opener. Whenever he's healthy enough to play, he'll be suspended five games for violating the NBA's anti-drug program.
Speaking for the first time since the suspension, Smith regrets what he did.
"I'm more disappointed because I let my teammates and my coaches down more than anything," Smith said. "I let Mr. Dolan down. And we're looking to move forward from it."
Coach Mike Woodson, one of Smith's biggest supporters, said his sixth man still has some atoning to do.
"I don't condone anything like that," Woodson said. "I'm sure he's apologized and will apologize to his teammates and the organization. We made a major commitment to him. We just got to hope it's a learning lesson for him and that it doesn't happen again."