BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Modified: December 16, 2008 at 5:15 am •  Published: December 16, 2008

photo - Oklahoma City Thunder's  Joe  Smith, right, applauds students in the KIPP Reach College Prepatory School students fifth grade reading after participating in a mini-lesson with the class in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. The visit is in conjunction with the Thunder Read to Achieve program. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City Thunder's Joe Smith, right, applauds students in the KIPP Reach College Prepatory School students fifth grade reading after participating in a mini-lesson with the class in Oklahoma City, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. The visit is in conjunction with the Thunder Read to Achieve program. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

/> Smith now calls the scandal an unfortunate incident in which his former agent, Eric Fleisher, initiated an illegal deal. Fleisher, who was stripped of his agent’s license, could not be reached for comment.

"It was just a messed up situation for me, just being thrown in the mix like that and having to go through arbitration and not really knowing what’s going on,” Smith said. "It was a bad situation. So that’s kind of why I don’t count that.”

The arbitration lingered into the 2000-01 season before Smith eventually signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Pistons in mid-November.

Smith, 25 at the time of the scandal, said he no longer feels the incident overshadows his career.

"There are things that as an adult I don’t feel I have to explain now,” Smith said. "I know what happened. People inside know what happened. Back then, there was a lot of pressure on my shoulders.

"I felt like I had to tell somebody just to let people know. But now I feel like it’s over and done with. I don’t even look back or think about it as much as people would think. I just actually look forward to the next situation I’m going to be in and not think about that too much.”