Chris Smith, who made the Knicks’ opening day roster before being cut in January, has now been released by the Knicks’ D-League affiliate in Erie. Smith, who was quite clearly given a roster spot just because he is J.R. Smith’s brother, was on the roster when capable point guards such as Kendall Marshall and D.J. Augustin were free agents, so his short stint with the Knicks has been a sore spot for many. ESPN is reporting that Smith had some run-ins with the coaching staff in Erie, and Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the most reliable sources in the league, recently reported that Smith had left the team several days ago due to dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time. I’m sure more amusing details will be on the way soon, so let’s stay tuned. -Tommy R
Point Guard Beno Udrih has requested a trade, and the Knicks plan to honor his request, according to sources. Beno’s frustration seems to stem both from his lack of playing time and the seemingly disproportionate amount of blame he has received— particularly from Knicks Coach Mike Woodson— for New York’s struggles.
I have a few thoughts about this.
- Awesome! A trade is coming! A change! Something to shake things up in some way.
- Udrih has a legitimate gripe here, but I’m pretty sure you have to be at least “slightly above average” to demand a trade. It’s an unwritten rule.
- Udrih is decent, but if Woodson is never going to put him in, it’s not much of a loss. Just like Chris Copeland.
- Let’s hope this doesn’t completely screw with the team’s chemistry. For what it’s worth, Beno never seemed like the most popular guy in the organization.
- Chris Smith is crazy.
What? How did Chris Smith get brought in to this? Well, some of you may remember Chris Smith’s tenure “with” the Knicks (and I use the term “with” very loosely).
After the news broke about Udrih wanting a trade, a few people tweeted their (ludicrous) opinions saying that Chris Smith— JR’s younger brother who stood for all that had been wrong with this year’s Knicks until they cut him, and who was described by one NBA GM as the “worst player in the history of the summer league” (The SUMMER leagueI)– deserves a spot back on the team. These tweets included some harsh attacks on Udrih… and Smith retweeted them. Chris Smith re-posted the following tweets from fans about a player who had been his teammate (and his superior) 3 weeks ago.
To recap: the first tweet is racist, cruel, and absurd. The second tweet is just absurd. The third tweet has nothing to do with any of this, but Chris Smith would apparently like to remind all of his followers that he is a proud member of the NBA D-League.
Chris Smith’s judgement and appreciation for people who have given him opportunities in the pst are clearly very flawed.
It’s hard to think of a logical defense for how poorly Smith has handled this situation on social media.
Runs in the family.
The Reign of Nepotism has come to an end. I reported yesterday that the Knicks were considering waiving Chris Smith, and indeed, the organization has officially decided to set J.R. Smith’s brother free
to live amongst the wolves in the forest. The Knicks are now closing in on a deal with Jeremy Tyler, who has flown to New York to hammer out a contract. It will be interesting to see whether Tyler gets minutes (he should, and you have to assume he will, but you never know with Coach Woodson’s rotations). It also remains to be seen what will become of Cole Aldrich, the young center who has ridden the bench all season. If Tyler is being brought up to sit on the bench with Aldrich, well, that makes no sense. If Tyler is being brought up to play over Aldrich, it might make sense to release Aldrich to sign a guard. Either way, the Knicks cannot afford to waste roster spots on guys who do not play. They seem to be acknowledging this by releasing Smith.
UPDATE: The Knicks have signed Tyler.
There have been reports that big man Jeremy Tyler— who had 21 points and 15 rebounds the other night in the D-League— could be called up by the Knicks as soon as Thursday, when the Knicks take on the Spurs. ESPN’s Ian Begley is now reporting that the Knicks are giving serious consideration to cutting point guard Chris Smith (J.R.’s brother) in order to make room on the roster for Tyler. It is widely believed that Smith is on the roster for reasons other than his playing ability, so this should come as good news for Knicks fans. It is interesting that they would take a stand and finally stop wasting their final roster spot on somebody who never plays, but desperate times call for desperate— but in this case, sensible— measures.
The Knicks announced that they have elected to keep PG Toure Murry, PG Chris Smith, and C Cole Aldrich on the 15-man roster, while releasing Jeremy Tyler, Ike Diogu, CJ Leslie, Josh Powell, and Chris Douglas-Roberts.
It’s a bit surprising that Tyler was waived. Tyler showed great potential during summer league, and Coach Woodson indicated that he would likely make the team despite missing the preseason with a foot injury. The Knicks are now left with 5 big men: Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, Andrea Bargnani, and Aldrich. Given that all 5 of these guys have battled injury recently, it makes one wonder why the team chose to keep 2 guards and only 1 big man.
Speaking of the guards, what is Chris Smith doing on this team? He played a team-low 20 minutes this preseason and shot a dreadful 1-7. J.R Smith said yesterday that he hoped his little brother would make the team on his own talent, but this is clearly not the case. Based on what we have seen from Chris during the games, it seems that he is not a quality player by any means. Mike Woodson admitted that Chris’ status as J.R’s brother would be considered when making the final roster cuts, and it appears that having the last name “Smith” will, in fact, keep Chris with the team.
I have no problem with Murry making the roster. Toure showed great promise during the Summer League and continued to play very well during the preseason. He definitely earned a spot on the team.
If I’m Ike Diogu right now, I’m feeling pissed off. Diogu showed up to camp, played hard, played well, showed a decent post game and a nice mid-range jumper…. and got released, because the Knicks wanted to keep J.R Smith’s brother. Again, Chris showed nothing during the preseason, so it seems as if, no matter what happened, Chris was guaranteed a roster spot. If that was the case, why not tell Diogu that from the start, so that he could showcase his talent with another team?
I am a bit concerned over the lack of healthy, reliable big men on the team. Of course, I am nitpicking here. If a need for another big man arises, the Knicks can always release Chris Smith or any other player on the team and sign Tyler, Diogu, or any big man who is a free agent. Murry, Smith, and Aldrich will not be playing major minutes as things stand right now, and neither would Diogu, Tyler, Powell, Leslie, or Douglas-Roberts if they had made the team. Would I like to see Tyler and/or Diogu on the opening day roster? Yes. Will the 13th, 14th, and 15th men on the team make-or-break our season? Probably not…
… unless ToureSanity is waiting in the wings…
The Knicks gave Point Guard Chris Smith a training camp invite (which is essentially a non-guaranteed contract) and will take a look at the younger brother of their star sixth man J.R. Smith in October. Chris Smith was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Louisville before last season, but was cut after suffering a knee injury before the season started. Now, Chris has another chance.