Chris Smith (Louisville)

Pacific Notes: Sanders, Kings, Joerger, Smith

Despite losing two centers this summer, the Warriors haven’t reached out to Larry Sanders, writes Monte Poole of CSNBayArea. The former Bucks big man was an elite rim protector before he walked away from the game in December of 2014, citing anxiety and depression. Sanders is considering a comeback and sparked speculation on Saturday when he sent out two messages on Twitter: an image of a cavalier and a scene from a 1979 movie titled “The Warriors.” Golden State needs to find replacements for Andrew Bogut, who was traded to Dallas to create cap room for Kevin Durant, and Festus Ezeli, who signed with the Trail Blazers as a free agent.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are getting plenty of calls from teams interested in Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore, tweets James Ham of CSNCalifornia. So far, they haven’t heard an offer they like.
  • New Kings coach Dave Joerger doesn’t plan to coach any more summer league games, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Joerger said he started out in that role to set the tone for the rest of the staff.
  • The Kings and Clippers are among the teams that worked out J.R. Smith‘s brother this weekend in Las Vegas, tweets Chris Haynes of Chris Smith‘s only NBA experience came in two games with the Knicks in 2013.
  • Ryan McDonough’s first plan for a quick turnaround in Phoenix didn’t work, so now he’s rebuilding through the draft, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. With two picks in the top eight, the Suns grabbed highly regarded power forward prospects Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss. Their only free agent pickup so far this summer is veteran shooting guard Jared Dudley for $30MM over three years, a modest sum in this year’s market. “That’s certainly the most sustainable way to do it,” McDonough said about his draft strategy. “If you can draft those guys and have them under control for four years on the rookie scale and then have a bunch of advantages in terms of contract extensions and full Bird rights, that really helps.”

Western Notes: Nowitzki, Ingram, Jazz

Dirk Nowitzki still hasn’t made up his mind on whether he is going to opt out of his deal with the Mavericks, but he is leaning toward it and he addressed the topic on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan (h/t to the Dallas Morning News for the transcript). “Is [opting out] best for the franchise? Just trying to find out from Donnie [Nelson] and Mark [Cuban] what’s out there, what the plan is,” Nowitzki said. “So, 100 percent, my mind’s not made up, but I’m leaning toward opting out and trying to help, and see what’s out there.”

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

And-Ones: Okafor, Towns, Carmelo, Coaches

Timberwolves coach/executive Flip Saunders likes Jahlil Okafor better than Karl-Anthony Towns, but most of the rest of the team’s staff prefers Towns, as Chad Ford of hears for his latest Insider-only mock draft. Ford believes those those pro-Towns staffers will ultimately win Saunders over and lists Towns atop his mock, also passing along word from sources that the Magic are zeroing in on Kristaps Porzingis at No. 5. There’s plenty more on the draft and other NBA issues amid the latest from around the league:

  • Zach Links of Hoops Rumors adds the Hawks, Clippers, Bulls, Magic, Bucks and Knicks to the list of teams working out Harvard point guard Wesley Saunders (Twitter link).
  • The Mavericks were willing to bring Chris Smith, the brother of J.R. Smith, onto their summer league team as part of their effort to woo Carmelo Anthony, a former teammate of the brothers, this past summer, a source told Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling. Anthony instead re-signed with the Knicks and Chris didn’t end up with the summer Mavs, but Chris is aiming for a return to the league after a period in which he was hospitalized with anxiety attacks. Those episodes stemmed in part from his exasperation with the notion that the Knicks signed him only because his brother was on the team, and the criticism he endured because of it, as Zwerling explains.
  • College coaches who jumped directly into NBA head coaching jobs haven’t had much success in the NBA of late, aside from Brad Stevens, but NBA GMs are open to them, and with Billy Donovan and Fred Hoiberg on winning teams, there’s ground for a new trend, as Dana O’Neil of examines. Still, that depends on how well Donovan’s Thunder and Hoiberg’s Bulls fare, O’Neil cautions.
  • Longtime NBA front office executive Joel Litvin is stepping down from his post as the NBA’s president of league operations and will assume a role as a consultant, effective September 1st, as the league announced and as a source originally told Grantland’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link). Litvin, whose wide-ranging duties included work on the collective bargaining agreement, was an innovative force in his 27 years with the NBA, Lowe tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Young, Datome, Chris Smith

Nets GM Billy King wants to keep Thaddeus Young beyond this season and make him a building block for the team, writes Mike Mazzeo of Young, who has a player option worth nearly $10.222MM for next season, is seeing fewer minutes per game since the trade to Brooklyn than in any season but his rookie year, but he’s nonetheless glad to be a part of the team’s plan for the future.

“It means a lot,” Young said. “It means that I’m definitely a player that has come into his own and being able to go out there and do a lot of things to help my team win basketball games. Sometimes I can go out there and be a game-changer with the energy I bring to the table.”

There’s more on the Nets amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics seem to want a long-term future with Jonas Jerebko, but while president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he likes Gigi Datome and that the Celtics aren’t looking to release or arrange a buyout with him, he also said that it’s unclear just how he fits with the team. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details. The Celtics executive is focused more on player evaluation than wins and losses even as his team sits just a game and a half back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, Bulpett notes.
  • A season of prolific roster turnover has challenged Celtics coach Brad Stevens, but he’s shined amid the team’s many moves, navigating the club into contention for a playoff spot, as Chris Forsberg of examines.
  • Deron Williams believes all the trade rumors surrounding him and other high-profile Nets before the deadline affected the performance of the team, which has played better since February 19th passed, as Ohm Youngmisuk of observes.
  • KB Peja of Kosova has released ex-Knicks guard Chris Smith, notes Ian Begley of (via Twitter). The 27-year-old brother of J.R. Smith signed overseas last month but struggled to make an impact during his brief time playing in southeastern Europe.

Charlie Adams contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Jackson, Nets, Stoudemire, Drew

Phil Jackson‘s hints to Harvey Araton of The New York Times that his stay as Knicks president might not be a lengthy one lead Baxter Holmes of to wonder if the door is ajar for a return of the Zen Master to the Lakers, where Jim Buss is on a three-year timetable to succeed. Still, Jackson told Brian Lewis of the New York Post within the past week that “I’ve kind of just divorced myself from them,” in reference to the Lakers, so it seems a purple-and-gold reunion is almost certainly not in the cards. Here’s more from Jackson’s current division:

  • Trade rumors have swirled around Brook Lopez, and a recent report cast some doubt about the long-term job security of coach Lionel Hollins, but Lopez and Hollins have begun to forge a better working relationship, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News details. Hollins’ public criticism of Lopez and others had bothered Nets ownership, as sources recently told Mike Mazzeo of
  • Amar’e Stoudemire said today that he doesn’t anticipate he’ll be traded this year, and that while he hasn’t had a conversation with the Knicks front office about a future with the team beyond this season, he expects one to take place soon, observes Adam Zagoria of
  • Larry Drew II‘s 10-day contract with the Sixers expires tonight, but coach Brett Brown made it plain Tuesday that he’s a fan of the point guard, notes Tom Moore of Calkins Media (Twitter link). Drew is on his second 10-day arrangement with Philadelphia, so any subsequent deal between the sides would have to cover the rest of the season.
  • Sources tell Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia that former Knicks guard Chris Smith is headed to play for KB Peja in Kosovo. The Knicks signed Smith, the brother of J.R. Smith, to a minimum-salary contract with a fully guaranteed salary for last season, but they waived him a little more than two months into 2013/14.

Eastern Notes: Bosh, Celtics, Smith

The Heat’s roster is still full of talent, post LeBron James, but it will take time for all the new pieces to come together, writes Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald. Chris Bosh, who signed a five year, $118,705,300 contract this offseason, understands that the circumstances this season will be different.

“It’s a process, and every time we step out on the floor we’re used to being extremely successful and for things to come a little easier,” Bosh said. “We haven’t had this process in a very long time. We’re used to the same guys coming back, and we know our rotations and it’s just a matter of getting in shape. We’re used to knowing where the ball is going to go. We knew everything and now is a time when we have to really be patient with it because even though we’re out there playing, we have to remember that we’ve only played eight preseason games together and we’re not going to be where we need to be.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck says that he has received “two serious offers” to sell the team in the last two weeks, writes Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe.  However, he and Steve Pagliuca have no interest in selling, and Grousbeck would not say if those offers came with dollar amounts attached to them.
  • Former Knicks guard Chris Smith has entered the D-League draft with the hope of getting another opportunity to play in the NBA, writes Ian Begley of  The younger brother of J.R. Smith says that he has drawn interest from some D-League teams as well as clubs overseas.
  • Even with LeBron James returning to Cleveland, the Heat will still be one of the better teams in the East, as A. Sherrod Blakely of writes in his preview of the Southeast Division.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

D-League Notes: Byars, Karasev, Buycks

Derrick Byars has been acquired as a returning player by the Bakersfield Jam, according to Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. Byars’ last NBA action came during a call up by the Spurs during the 2011/2012 season.  He attended training camp with the Grizzlies this season, and most recently had signed with the Russian club Krasny Oktybr, but left the team prior to ever playing in a game.

More from the D-League:

  • Former Knicks and Erie Bayhawks guard Chris Smith tells Adam Zagoria of (Twitter link) that he left Erie for “personal reasons” and intends to catch on with a team during the Summer League.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned Sergey Karasev to the Canton Charge of the D-League they announced via press release. Karasev has appeared in 12 games for the Charge and has averaged 13.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.2 SPG while logging 30 MPG.
  • The Raptors have reassigned Dwight Buycks to the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League (Twitter link). Buycks has appeared in 13 games for the Raptors this year, averaging 3.2 PPG, 1.5 RPG, and 0.8 APG in 9.5 minutes per game.

Knicks Rumors: Woodson, Anthony, Chris Smith

Mike Woodson was the odds-on favorite to be the first coaching casualty of 2013/14 until the Pistons axed Maurice Cheeks a month ago, and even then, there were sharks circling the Knicks coach. Still, Woodson remains, and with 21 games to go, it’s starting to look as if he’ll finish the season on the job. Here’s more on Woodson and other figures from around the Knicks:

  • Woodson acknowledged his shortcomings but insisted he won’t quit and said he still feels like the man for the job, as he told reporters today, including Marc Berman of the New York Post.
  • Fellow Post scribe Mike Vaccaro finds it vexing that the team hasn’t fired Woodson yet, but Sean Deveney of The Sporting News points to Carmelo Anthony‘s fondness for the coach as the reason why Woodson’s still around. Owner James Dolan has met with Anthony at least once this season to get his input on Woodson and the future of the team, Deveney notes.
  • Chris Smith is set to clear D-League waivers today, and a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest that it’s unlikely another D-League club takes a chance on him after the Knicks affiliate cut him loose Tuesday (Twitter link).

Knicks D-League Affiliate Waives Chris Smith

1:48pm: Smith was upset over his playing time and left the team several days ago, a source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).

1:22pm: Smith had several run-ins with Erie’s coaches, precipitating the decision to let him go, tweets Ian Begley of

1:00pm: The BayHawks have officially waived Smith, the team announced.

8:42am: The D-League affiliate of the Knicks has decided to waive former Knicks guard Chris Smith, a source tells Gino Pilato of D-League Digest. The Erie BayHawks have yet to make an official announcement, but it appears one of the most controversial additions to an NBA roster this season is about to find himself without a home in the D-League, much less the NBA.

The Knicks signed Smith, the brother of J.R. Smith, in the offseason to a minimum-salary contract that became fully guaranteed if he made the team out of camp, and he did so, sticking with New York for the first two months of the season. This was despite the reported belief of some Knicks coaches who thought Chris Smith wasn’t even qualified to play in the the D-League. The Knicks waived him in December, irking his brother, and Chris Smith wound up heading to play in the D-League, where the BayHawks grabbed his rights.

Chris Smith averaged 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20.8 minutes per game for Erie, though some of his 23 appearances came on assignment while still under contract with the Knicks. The 26-year-old hasn’t played since a five-minute cameo on February 22nd. The Knicks are still on the hook for the Leon Rose client‘s full NBA salary for this season, which is compounded because of luxury tax penalties.

Both Smith brothers signed new contracts with the Knicks this summer, though it appeared that the one the team gave to Chris was in deference to J.R., who won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season. Rose, the agent for both Smiths, is with the Creative Artists Agency, which has close ties to Knicks management. Rose also represents Carmelo Anthony, who plans to opt out of his deal with New York and become a free agent this summer.

Chris Smith Joins Erie BayHawks

12:34pm: Smith has rejoined the Erie BayHawks, dressing for the team today in its game against the Idaho Stampede.

WEDNESDAY, 8:30am: A tweet from Smith himself has raised doubts about his D-League team, since it seems to suggest he’s returning to the Erie BayHawks, as Schlosser writes.

TUESDAY, 5:15pm: It was reported earlier this week that the former Knicks reserve Chris Smith would sign with a D-League team but the exact team wasn’t revealed until moments ago by Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside. Smith will be signing a D-League contract with the L.A. D-Fenders, who are owned by the Lakers.

This will not be the first time this season Smith has seen playing time in the D-League, as the Knicks sent him down to their affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, for six games prior to waiving him.