Woodson to J.R.: 'Be more of a pro'

Updated: January 14, 2014, 2:34 AM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Mike Woodson has a stern, simple message for embattled shooting guard J.R. Smith.

The bottom line is he's got to be more of a pro and do the right things and just concentrate on playing basketball. That's the name of the game, nothing else.

-- Knicks coach Mike Woodson

"The bottom line is he's got to be more of a pro and do the right things and just concentrate on playing basketball," the Knicks coach said Monday. "That's the name of the game, nothing else. You got to concentrate on your craft and what you're being paid to do -- that's play basketball. ... That's all I want him to do."

Smith has angered Woodson and many in the Knicks organization for his on and off-court transgressions this season.

Smith's latest impropriety came earlier this month when the shooting guard attempted to untie two opponents' shoelaces. He was fined $50,000 by the NBA for his shoelace stunts. The 28-year-old was also benched by Woodson on Thursday against the Miami Heat.

Smith returned to the court against Philadelphia on Saturday and scored 14 points to lift New York to a 102-92 win. In Monday night's 98-96 win over the Suns, he scored 10 points on 5-11 shooting from the floor.

Afterward, Smith said he'd learned a lesson from the fine and benching.

"Don't goof around, I guess. Be serious. Be a professional. And just don't take this opportunity here you have for granted," he said. "There's a lot of people in this world that want our jobs. You can't take it for granted. It can be taken away just that fast."

Woodson addressed the Smith incident for the first time on Monday. Smith said he spoke to the head coach on Friday.

"Bottom line is I expect J.R. to be a pro on and off the court and concentrate on playing basketball and that's all I want him to do," Woodson said.

Smith's season has been a forgettable one to this point. He was suspended for the first five games of the regular season for violating the league's anti-drug policy. He was also fined $25,000 in November for sending threatening tweets to Detroit's Brandon Jennings after Jennings made disparaging remarks about Smith's brother, Chris.

On the court, Smith has struggled to rebound from offseason knee surgery. He is shooting just 32 percent from the floor and scoring nearly seven points fewer per-game than he did last season, though he had a strong night against Philadelphia.

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 in recent days begun exploring the potential trade market for him, though they realize it will be difficult to move him.

Smith can't be traded until Jan. 15 because the Knicks are over the salary cap and Smith signed for more than 120 percent of his previous salary.

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