The New York Knicks are shopping the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith after his behavior both on the off the court, ESPN reported Wednesday. The report comes after the NBA fined Smith $50,000 for “recurring instances of unsportsmanlike conduct.” He untied Shawn Marion‘s sneaker, received a warning and then tried to do it to Greg Monroe in the next game. The Knicks â€” as are most fans â€” are a bit fed up with the whole thing, but finding a suitor for Smith’s services will be hard.
ESPN’s Ian Begley and Marc Stein report:
While they acknowledge that a trade may be difficult to pull off, the New York Knicks in recent days began exploring the potential market for guard J.R. Smith, ESPN.com has learned.
Sources close to the situation said Wednesday that the organization has become increasingly frustrated with Smith’s on- and off-the-court transgressions and may feel that a fresh start would be best for all parties.
Wednesday’s fine didn’t necessarily push the Knicks over the top, but one source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said the organization has become “fed up” with Smith’s erratic behavior.
Coach Mike Woodson hinted at that frustration Wednesday when he called Smith’s conduct “unacceptable” in an interview with ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show.”
Knicks coach Mike Woodson says he’ll have a conversation with J.R. Smith about the shooting guard’s recent antics.
“I’m not happy about this, because he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake, and it’s not right,” Woodson said. “It’s just got to stop. I keep saying this every time something pops up, but it’s got to stop.”
The coach later added that Smith has been “unprofessional about how he’s approached this whole thing. Something’s gotta be done. It has to stop. I’ll address it tomorrow when I see him, and then we’ll go from there.”
Smith responded to the fine and his behavior by apologizing, though he failed to add what he was actually apologizing for, we can surmise it was the fine, and his shoelace incidents.
Huge apologies to my team, to the league an most of all you the fans! #JRSmithSigningOff
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) January 8, 2014
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski doesn’t believe the Knicks are serious about moving J.R. primarily because there’s no one out there willing to hand anything over in exchange for the embattled Knicks wing.
Knicks trying to scare J.R. Smith straight with public, but empty trade talk. Of course, they understand there's no market for him.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 9, 2014
Rival executives unloaded on Smith to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
“Good luck with that,” one rival executive said of the Knicks’ predicament.
“I hear Shanghai has a spot,” one rival GM said Wednesday when polled about potential takers for Smith.
Another executive, when asked about teams that might be interested, texted, “Erie?”
Ouch. Hopefully Smith understands he can’t get away with this childish behavior on or off the court unless he actually produces (and even then, a lot of teams wouldn’t put up with the headache). So far this season, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is averaging 11.3 points in 32.3 minutes per game while shooting a dreadful 34.3 percent from the floor for the 12-22 Knicks. Those numbers are way down from the last season, and the cannabis suspension combined with the shoelace incidents and his back-and-forth with Woodson in the locker-room add up to a grating presence for a Knicks franchise that’s already got a lot on its mind.
If the Knicks could actually find some takers for Smith while getting some cheap talent back, they would probably unload him, but he’s radioactive at this point, and we agree with Wojo’s assessment above.
What do you think?
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