The Knicks have sent SF Cleanthony Early to the D-League, according to reports. The move does not open up a roster spot for the Knicks, but should be in Early’s best interest, as the rookie will now get to play major minutes for the Westchester Knicks instead of riding the bench on the Manhattan club. It’s not uncommon for teams to send players back and forth to and from the D-League, so Cleanthony could be in Westchester when the D-League team has a game, and then join the pro team for their games. Early has gotten off to a frustrating start after missing much of the early (ha!) part of the season with a knee injury, but was widely regarded as a steal in the draft, and the potential is still there. The Knicks have made use of their D-League team in the past, letting Jeremy Tyler, Langston Galloway, and—most notably— Jeremy Lin get practice down there. Cleanthony and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the two players New York drafted last summer, will try to join them on the list of NBA talent to pass through the Knicks’ minor league system.
Check out an interview we did with Cle before the season, here.
The Knicks announced Wednesday that their new D-league affiliate, which will play in White Plains starting next season, will be named the “Westchester Knicks”. They also revealed the logo for the team, pictured above.
Given that the Knicks had been running a fan-submission contest in which the new D-League team’s name would be chosen from the suggestions, it’s a bit odd to see them elect to name the team the “Knicks”.
Anyway, it looks like Chris Smith’s chances of playing for a team called the “Knicks” just went up by like 40 percent.
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