Thursday, January 16, 2014
Opening Tip: Will J.R. impact Melo's future?
By Ian Begley
Will J.R. Smith's drama affect Carmelo Anthony's free-agency decision this upcoming offseason?
These days, it seems everyone has an opinion on J.R. Smith.
Some say he’s foolish for pulling those shoelace stunts. Others say he shouldn’t be angry at the team for cutting his brother.
Still, there are those who say the Knicks should only blame themselves for J.R.’s behavior because they’ve enabled it for so long before taking a stand in recent days.
Really, though, the most important opinion on this matter is the one that belongs to Carmelo Anthony.
Listen to the complete Woodson interview:
Anthony and Smith have played together for eight seasons. The two are close.
Anthony recently said he’s spoken to J.R. for hours upon hours about a number of issues -- on and off the court. You get the sense they have a brotherly type of relationship.
So you wonder how Anthony feels about the way the Knicks are handling Smith, who has been benched for three of the past five games.
“He watches everything,” someone close to Anthony said earlier this month.
If Anthony’s looking at this situation, you wonder if he will factor it in when he makes his decision about free agency over the summer.
Carmelo could draw several conclusions from the Smith drama. Maybe he thinks the Knicks are mistreating Smith? Maybe he chalks it up to Smith misbehaving?
If it’s the former, will that factor into his free agency this summer?
Mike Woodson, for one, doesn’t think it will matter much. He believes Anthony will retire as a Knick.
But even Woodson admitted that there is some concern that the team's on-and-off-court issues may impact Anthony's decision, leading him to leave New York.
"Yeah, you're concerned. But again, Melo is wearing a Knick uniform and I think Melo loves playing in New York," Woodson said Wednesday in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s “The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show.” “... In my heart, I don't think [Anthony will sign with another team]. I think Melo will retire a New York Knick. That's just my personal belief."
Mike Woodson benched Smith on Tuesday after Smith was late for a meeting earlier that day and complained about a lack of playing time in overtime of the Knicks’ win over Phoenix on Monday, sources say.