J.R. Smith: We can benefit from Phil

J.R. Smith said he hasn’t been following the reports linking Phil Jackson to the Knicks too closely.

“I’ve been watching the Golf Channel,” Smith said. “I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”

But Smith does think Jackson’s presence can benefit the Knicks. The Hall of Fame coach is currently mulling an offer to join the team as president of basketball operations.

“If he is, great. If he isn’t, then that’s fine, too. He’s won [13] championships. Any wisdom that he has will benefit us,” Smith said.

All indications are that Jackson will accept the Knicks’ offer to join the club's front office, a league source told ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

Jackson's answer is expected to become official within the next day or so, a source told Broussard. The Knicks have not scheduled an announcement.

Knicks assistant general manager Allan Houston didn’t want to address the possibility of Jackson taking over as team president. But he did say that he “respected” the Hall of Famer.

“Everyone has respect for one of the greatest coaches to play,” Houston said at an event to announce the Knicks’ new D-League team in Westchester. “I’ve played for some wonderful coaches. And I’ve learned a lot from every one of them.

“I've played and worked with a lot of great people -- personnel and coaches,” Houston added. “I'm a sponge, so everybody I've worked with I'm going to learn from.”

If that happens, it creates an uncertain future for Houston, general manager Steve Mills and others in the Knicks’ front office.

Bargnani unsure of return: Andrea Bargnani says he has no timetable for his return and is unsure if he will be back this season. Bargnani suffered an elbow injury on Jan. 24. Kenyon Martin (ankle) hasn't resumed basketball activities. He has been out since Feb. 3 with a sore left ankle.

Name that team: The NBA Development League has added a team in the New York suburb of White Plains that will be owned and operated by the Knicks.

Houston will serve as GM of the team.

The former star shooting guard said having the team play and train at the County Center in White Plains will help with player development.

The team will be minutes away from the Knicks’ training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y.

“We have a lot of connection to the Westchester community from training here,” Houston said. “A lot of our staff and players are part of this community. We've always been connected. The proximity from our training facility to here will allow us to be much more effective in developing players, providing a support system for them. [It will] provide a resource and [help with] skill development and [allow us to] make sure we're doing everything in our capability to help players get better and grow and give Westchester something to be excited about.”

Melo wins Player of the Week: Carmelo Anthony was named Player of the Week for the Eastern Conference, the NBA announced.

Anthony led the Knicks to a 3-1 week behind averages of 29.0 points (third in the conference), 5.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.75 steals (fifth in the conference). Anthony also averaged the fourth-most minutes in the East, at 38.7 mpg.

Knicks ink Brown, Clark: The Knicks signed Earl Clark and Shannon Brown to 10-day contracts. Both Brown and Clark played on 10-day deals with the Knicks. At the end of this 10-day contract, the Knicks will have to decide if they want to sign the players for the remainder of the season.

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