J.R. Smith is eligible to be traded starting today, and while it doesn’t appear as though any deal is imminent, all is not well between last year’s Sixth Man of the Year and the Knicks. Smith didn’t appear in last night’s game against the Bobcats, even though he says Mike Woodson hadn’t told him he would be benched, observes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Smith didn’t directly answer a reporter’s postgame question of whether he wants to be traded, but he nonetheless hinted at discontent with his situation in New York.
“I’ll figure out what I can do better to help this team and go from there,’’ Smith said, as Berman notes. “If I can’t help the team, no point in me being here.’’
A reporter also asked Smith whether he would try to talk to Woodson about the benching, but Smith replied that, “The communication from my end is over,” Newsday’s Al Iannazzone tweets. The latest discord seems to have started with Smith repeatedly trying to untie opponents’ shoelaces earlier this month, but Smith says it’s “ridiculous” that such pranks have led to so much trouble, according to Berman.
Trading Smith, who signed a three-year contract for nearly $18MM in the offseason, wouldn’t fetch the Knicks much in return, as there’s apparently no market for the swingman. The Knicks have been trying to find a way to trade for Andre Miller, but the Nuggets have no interest in Smith and wouldn’t entertain the idea of a Miller-for-Smith swap, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link).