HoopsHype JR Smith rumors

January 18, 2014 Updates

Smith made 9 of 18 shots, scored a season-high 24 points, sank a trio of 3-pointers and got to the line four times. “Just hard work,” he said. “I’m dedicated. Staying in the gym, focused on the game, taking what the defense gives me. “Try to get to the free throw line as much as I can. At the same time when I penetrate, I understand guys are going to gravitate to me, try to find the big guys and kick out for 3s.” Unfortunately for Smith and the Knicks, the impressive performance has been a rarity this season, as frequent as the club- goer staying home on a Saturday night. He has spent more time taking ill-advised jump shots, untying opponents’ shoelaces and fighting with Woodson than he has playing good basketball. New York Post

The Knicks hope it’s a start. Woodson said it reminded him of last year, when Smith was the Sixth Man of the Year and played a key role on the Knicks’ 54-win season and run to the second round of the playoffs. “We need him,” Carmelo Anthony said. “I told you guys the other day, we need J.R. Smith. We need him to play the way he played [Friday]. I thought he played extremely well and we’re going to need more of that.” New York Post

January 16, 2014 Updates

Knicks bad boy J.R. Smith is baaaack! Mike Woodson said Smith will play Thursday when the Knicks face the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “I need J.R. every game, every game I need J.R.,’’ Woodson said at the morning shootaround. “And J.R. will be back in uniform today and we’ll go from there.’’ New York Post

Asked Thursday whether he had spoken with Smith, Woodson said: “There’s nothing that needs to be said. I expect J.R. to be a pro and concentrate on playing basketball. That’s why he’s wearing a Knick uniform. It’s a privilege to play in this league. You got to do all the necessary things on and off the court to be a pro in this league. I don’t think any player should take it for granted. When he’s in uniform his job is to play. When he’s out of uniform his job is to concentrate on being a pro.’’ New York Post

In no time, Smith has played his way from Sixth Man of the Year to Invisible Man of the Year. “If Steve Mills can move him,” one Eastern Conference personnel man told me on Wednesday, bringing up the Knicks’ first-time GM, “then that would be one great move. Unless you’re getting him because you’ve had an injury and it’s an emergency and you need a shooting guard, how would you justify taking him on? He has to turn it around on the court, and then even if he does, you still have to deal with all of his B.S. If Steve Mills can move him, he’ll be pulling a fast one on some other team.” New York Daily News

They should have faced the facts and admitted they were not going to ever get a better season out of Smith than what he gave them last season, when they had the necessary support system in their locker room in established veteran players who could control the team’s wild child. Now they’re stuck with what the personnel man called, “a dog.” New York Daily News

“I’m not kicking J.R. to the curb,” Woodson said. “ J.R. is a big part of what we’ve done here and he will remain a big part. But he’s just got to make sure that he’s on the same page with the head coach in terms of what I’m expecting from him and what I want him to do in terms of his play and what he’s doing on and off the court to help us win basketball games.” New York Daily News

January 15, 2014 Updates

J.R. Smith was bellyaching on the bench to his Knicks teammates about not playing during Monday’s overtime session against the Suns, according to an eyewitness. It is unclear whether his displeasure resulted in coach Mike Woodson not playing Smith on Tuesday in Charlotte, but he was vocal on the bench about playing just 45 seconds of the 5-minute overtime as the Knicks pulled out the 98-96 victory. New York Post

Smith also had a run-in with Knicks coach Mike Woodson on Monday after he expressed frustration with his playing time in overtime of the Knicks' win over the Phoenix Suns, sources confirmed. Sources say Smith expressed his frustration with Woodson during the game and the two had a brief, heated discussion over Smith's displeasure shortly after the game. Smith's tardiness on Tuesday and his frustration with playing just 45 seconds in overtime likely led to Woodson benching him on Tuesday night against Charlotte. ESPN.com

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com last week that the Knicks had become increasingly frustrated with Smith's on- and off-court transgressions and have begun exploring the potential trade market for him, though they realize it will be difficult to move him. Since Smith signed a contract for more than 120 percent of his 2012-13 salary and the Knicks are over the salary cap, Wednesday was the first day he was eligible to be traded, due to a rule in the collective bargaining agreement. Woodson was asked about the possibility that Smith could be traded during his interview on Wednesday with Smith and Ruocco. ESPN.com

Woodson declined comment late Tuesday as to why Smith was benched. It was the second time in four games where Woodson benched Smith, who was fined $50,000 last week by the NBA for unsportsmanlike behavior. Acording to the same source, Smith and Woodson spoke briefly immediately after Tuesday’s game and both appeared upset. New York Daily News

It is unclear if Smith will play in Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Pacers in Indiana. After Tuesday’s game Smith continued to say he’s not sure if his future is in New York. Smith, the NBA’s 6th man of the year in 2013-13, signed a 3-year, $18 million deal with the club last July and became eligible to be traded on Wednesday. The Knicks have explored trading the veteran shooting guard, but his contract and the fact that he’s coming off knee surgery make it difficult for them to complete a transaction. New York Daily News

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