Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith feels for his former Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony and the struggles he’s endured, but he firmly believes that ‘Melo wants to stick it out and make things work in New York, Peter Botte of The New York Daily News writes. “I know it’s been hard on him,” Smith said. “It’s one of those situations when you’re a great player in the league and you just don’t have the support system, that cast that you’ve been accustomed to like when we were in Denver or the earlier years when he got to New York. I know it’s been a frustrating process, but if anybody can get through it, it will be Melo.”
“And I know he absolutely wants to make it work here [New York],” Smith continued. “This is everything he asked for, I mean, except for not making the playoffs and stuff like that. But everything he’s doing for the city and for the Knicks, I think it’s harder for him now more than anything. He doesn’t have the whole supporting cast yet, but this year has been better than last year and I think they will continue to improve. And the way I know him, he’s committed there, for sure.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Alex Stepheson has returned to the Iowa Energy, which is the D-League affiliate of Memphis, after the Grizzlies declined to sign him to a second 10-day contract, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor relays (Twitter link). The 28-year-old made four appearances for Memphis and averaged 5.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per outing.
- The fact that Pelicans big man Anthony Davis has played the past three seasons with a shoulder injury makes his performance all the more impressive, though it does raise questions about whether he is more injury-prone than previously believed, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report writes. The scribe posits that New Orleans may need to rest Davis more often in the future to help maintain his health but also points to Dwight Howard, who has dealt with similar shoulder issues since 2013, as a reason to believe Davis can continue to log significant minutes without being coddled.
- Former NBA coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. has a verbal agreement in place to become the next head coach of Tulane University, Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com reports. Dunleavy has zero college coaching experience but owns a career NBA mark of 613-716 from his stints with the Lakers, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Clippers.
- The Hawks have recalled Lamar Patterson from the D-League, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Patterson was assigned to the Canton Charge, the affiliate of the Cavs, via the flexible assignment rule.