J.R.: 'Ridiculous' if benched for shoe stunts
January, 15, 2014
J.R. Smith isn’t sure why he was benched on Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats, but he thinks it would be "ridiculous" if the Knicks sat him against Charlotte for his shoelace incident.
"For [the sneakers] to be the trigger point and for all this to happen is ridiculous," Smith said, according to published reports.
“Yes, the Smith saga took another turn on Tuesday. To recap: Smith had been benched for the Knicks’ win over the Miami Heat last week after he was fined $50,000 by the NBA for his attempts to untie opponents’ shoelaces.
I'll figure out what I can do better to help this team and go from there. If I can't help the team, [there's] no point in me being here.” -- J.R. Smith
Smith played 27 and 25 minutes, respectively, in the Knicks’ next two games, a sign that the benching was over. Coach Mike Woodson told him recently that he wanted Smith to "be more of a pro." Then, Woodson benched Smith on Tuesday.
That makes you wonder if something happened with Smith from the end of Monday’s game to the beginning of Tuesday’s between the coach and player.
Smith said Tuesday he didn’t know that he was going to be benched before the game and did not hear from Woodson about any punishment.
"I hadn’t the slightest clue," Smith said, according to published reports. "I’m just worried about getting better. If I don’t play, I go to the weight room or the court to get shots up."
He added: "I'll figure out what I can do better to help this team and go from there. If I can’t help the team, [there’s] no point in me being here."
Smith also hinted that he was tired of talking about the subject and wanted to show his worth on the court.
That quote could also be interpreted as an indication of his level of communication with Woodson.
Another layer to the Smith drama is that, due to a quirk in the collective bargaining agreement, Wednesday is the first day Smith is eligible to be traded.
Since Smith signed a contract for more than 120 percent of his 2012-13 salary and the Knicks are over the salary cap, they haven’t been able to deal him until Wednesday.
So that could be a factor at play here.
Smith signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Knicks in the offseason, though he admitted last week that he is unsure of his future with the organization.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com last week that the Knicks have 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.