Justin Brown, who was 19 at the time, approached Smith at a pizza shop at about 4 a.m. after Smith had left 1Oak, a well-known club in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Brown claims Smith turned down a request for a photo and then choked and struck him in his head and neck area. Brown is suing for physical injuries and emotional distress.
Smith was asked about the lawsuit following the Cavaliers' 107-93 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
"No, I ain't got no comment on that," Smith said. "It is what it is. So, we'll just see what happens."
Smith said he appreciated how the Cavs have supported him through the ordeal.
"I mean, the organization has been great since I got here," he said. "Whether it was that or anything else, they've been unbelievable, so I'm grateful for that."
Smith was not arrested for the incident, and the Manhattan District Attorney declined to file charges in January after a two-month investigation. There is a video of the incident captured on a security camera, sources said.
"If they have the audacity to file a frivolous claim against J.R., we will counterclaim for defamation and defend the suit aggressively," said Alex Spiro, Smith's attorney. "This was a cash grab from the start."
According to the police report, Smith reacted after Brown shouted "that's why you got kicked out of New York," after the photo request was declined. Smith, who was traded to the Cavs from the New York Knicks in 2015, was in town to play the Knicks that night.
The Cavs have been in New York City for the past three days to play games against the Brooklyn Nets and Knicks.
1Oak is the nightclub where Atlanta Hawks players Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic were involved in an altercation with police the same night former Indiana Pacers player Chris Copeland was stabbed in a separate incident. Charges against Antic were dropped, Sefolosha was acquitted and he sued the New York Police Department.
Information from ESPN's Dave McMenamin was used in this report.