Chris Smith makes the cut ... for now
October, 25, 2013
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
The Knicks announced Friday that they had cut five players from the roster. One player who remains on the roster, for now, is Chris Smith, the younger brother of J.R. Smith.
The team announced Chris Douglas-Roberts, C.J. Leslie, Jeremy Tyler, Josh Powell and Ike Diogu were cut from the roster. Smith, guard Toure' Murry and center Cole Aldrich remain.
To be clear, the Knicks can still waive Smith, Murry or Aldrich if they choose. Final regular-season rosters are due Monday at 5 p.m. ET.
The Knicks signed both Tyler and Leslie to partially-guaranteed contracts in the offseason. So New York will have to pay Tyler $100,000 and Leslie $200,000 in guaranteed money even though they've been waived.
New York's decision to keep Smith, for now, is sure to be a controversial one.
Woodson said earlier this week that Smith's relationship with his older brother will factor into whether the team keeps Smith on the 15-man roster.
"I look at him just like I look at J.R., though J.R. is the guy who played in a uniform and has been very productive for us," Woodson said. "I have a great deal of respect for that family. That's his brother, I respect that."
But J.R., older by two years, hoped that wasn't the case.
"I don't want that to come into play because that's a crutch for him and that's an excuse for him to make the team," J.R. said Thursday. "I think that he should make the team based off his own talent and his own ability. Don't get me wrong -- he's still my brother at the end of the day, but I think his talent should set that apart."
An added layer to the team's decision to keep Smith is the former Louisville guard's ties to CAA.
CAA represents both Chris and J.R. and has close ties to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.
Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, Woodson, assistant GM Allan Houston and front office member Mark Warkentien are represented by the agency.
The Knicks' brain trust met Thursday to discuss the roster and informed players of their decisions Friday morning. Woodson had said the team planned to keep one of the three big men they invited to camp. Diogu appeared to have the strongest preseason, so it's a bit of a surprise they kept Aldrich.
One league source with knowledge of the Knicks' decision-making noted the luxury tax implications of signing a veteran such as Powell or Diogu may have been prohibitive.
Woodson also hinted in recent days the team would keep Tyler. So it's also a bit surprising that the 22-year-old big man was released.
New York needs insurance on the front line because Kenyon Martin (ankle) and Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) are dealing with nagging injuries.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
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