Knicks' J.R. Smith arrested, released

Updated: May 25, 2012, 11:44 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Miami Beach police say a New York Knicks player has been arrested on a bench warrant for not having a valid driver's license.

Sgt. Bobby Hernandez says 26-year-old J.R. Smith was stopped Thursday night in South Beach.

Hernandez told ESPNNewYork.com that Smith was at 1620 Washington Avenue, the address of Fritz's Skate Bike & Surf shop. Police recognized him around 8:30 p.m. ET and knew they had a bench warrant pending against him.

The warrant stems from Smith's arrest last year for operating a motor vehicle without a valid license, Hernandez said. A bench warrant was issued last July after Smith failed to appear in court to answer the charges.

According to Hernandez, Smith was not engaged in any illegal activity when he was arrested.

Hernandez says Smith was taken to the Miami-Dade County jail, where officials say he bonded out early Friday.

No attorney was listed on jail records for Smith, whose legal name is Earl Joseph Smith.

Smith will appear in front of a judge to answer for the charges, Hernandez said. But no court date has been set.

Smith was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2004. He played in China during the NBA lockout last fall.

The Knicks signed Smith in mid-February to a pro-rated share of their $2.5 million mini mid-level exception with a player option for 2012-13.

The Knicks declined to comment on the incident on Friday.

"We're aware of it but it's a legal matter right now and I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment," GM Glen Grunwald said.

Smith averaged 12.5 points per game on 40 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the regular season. But Smith struggled in New York's first-round loss to Miami, shooting 11-for-48 in the final three games of the series.

It is unclear if Smith will pick up the player option or test free agency this summer.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley and Jared Zwerling and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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