The Knicks have been shopping J.R. Smith ever since he reacted negatively to the team’s decision to waive his brother, a source tells Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Smith’s public and private responses to his brother’s dismissal put him in owner James Dolan’s doghouse, and evidence suggests it was Dolan who ordered Smith’s surprise benching Thursday, Isola writes. Carmelo Anthony nonetheless remains supportive of the troubled swingman, and that could be the key to Smith’s ability to stick around New York, Isola believes. While even Thursday’s win over the Heat apparently can’t stop the New York soap opera, there’s also plenty of scuttlebutt from elsewhere in the NBA:
- The Hawks are set to finalize their 10-day signing of James Nunnally on Saturday, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- LeBron James and Tom Thibodeau share mutual admiration, but the Bulls would have to OK repeated luxury tax payments and Derrick Rose would have to cede crunch-time shots for LeBron to wind up with Chicago, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Thibodeau indicated today that the Bulls plan to send Erik Murphy to the D-League soon, observes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com (Twitter link).
- Giannis Antetokounmpo would love to play with his brother, Thanasis, but he won’t pressure the Bucks to draft him this year, writes Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (Twitter links).
- Australian guard Dante Exum has been meeting with agents the past few weeks, as expected, and the projected top-five pick appears to be a “lock” to enter the draft this year, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (on Twitter).
- There isn’t as much motivation for teams to tank as popular opinion suggests, and even when there is, the practice demonstrates a willingness to win as much as much as it does an intention to lose, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports opines in a piece for SB Nation.