In the midst of a season-worst stretch of losing seven of their last nine games, the Atlanta Hawks announced that standout forward Josh Smith will be suspended one game for conduct deemed detrimental to the team.
“Josh and I discussed the issue and he understood and accepted this course of action." Hawks general manager Danny Ferry said in a statement. "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."
Smith will serve his suspension Wednesday night versus the New Jersey Nets, a game which marks the return of former Hawks All-Star Joe Johnson to Philips Arena.
The suspension also comes with an undisclosed fine.
After leading the team in points and blocked shots, Smith said in a statement that he was frustrated by the team's ugly stretch, which was capped by Monday night's 97-58 loss to the Bulls in which the Hawks scored a franchise-worst 20 first-half points and five points in the third quarter. Smith earned a technical in the game after whipping the ball toward an official following a layup.
"Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses. 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," Smith said in his statement. "I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans for not being available for tonight's game."
During its recent stretch, Atlanta has fallen to 21-16 and sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.