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Knicks waive Chris Smith

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have decided to waive Chris Smith.

The Knicks finalized the move on Tuesday to create a roster spot for big man Jeremy Tyler, who has been playing for the Erie BayHawks, the Knicks' D-League affiliate, since going to training camp with New York.

Smith acknowledged on Twitter that he had been released by the team. On Monday evening, he sent out a tweet thanking the organization for a "great opportunity."

The Knicks considered releasing center Cole Aldrich to make room for Tyler, sources said, but decided to let go of Smith. They reached an agreement with Tyler on Monday afternoon, sources said.

The Knicks' decision to keep Smith on the regular-season roster stirred emotion among the team's fan base because of his ties to brother and teammate J.R. Smith. Both the Knicks and Chris Smith have acknowledged that Smith's older brother was a factor in the team's decision to keep him.

Coach Mike Woodson was asked if his affinity for the Smith family made it hard to make the decision:

"I got a fondness for everybody's family on this team," Woodson said. "I like the makeup of our team. I like our players, I like their families, so it's not just his family. Again, Chris will get another opportunity. I wish him nothing but the best. I appreciate the work that he put in here with our ballclub. It's not like he's done. He'll get an opportunity if he continues to work. Possibly somewhere else, if not back here. You just never know."

Smith began the season with the BayHawks and was called up to the Knicks on Dec. 17 after point guards Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton were lost to injury. He appeared in two regular-season games, playing a minute late in each.

His salary of $490,814 is already guaranteed, according to league sources, so the Knicks would not be saving any money on the transaction.

The 26-year-old's inclusion on the roster spurred a negative reaction from at least one NBA player.

Detroit's Brandon Jennings engaged in a Twitter spat last month with J.R. Smith after questioning Chris Smith's NBA credentials. J.R. Smith was fined $25,000 for directing hostile and inappropriate language toward Jennings in a response tweet.

Some rival agents believe Chris Smith's roster spot with the Knicks was locked in as a package deal when J.R. Smith re-signed with the team in July.

The Knicks signed Tyler to a partially guaranteed contract in training camp. He suffered a broken foot before camp and was released before the regular season.

Tyler, 22, has played well in recent weeks for the BayHawks. He has averaged 19.8 points and 11.4 rebounds in his past five games.

"It feels good to be back," he said. "I was down in Erie, trying to work on my game, get back in shape, get my rhythm right after the injury. I feel good being here. Very cool to everybody on the team. I'm just ready to come and help contribute and play my hardest and help us win."

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Matt Ehalt was used in this report.