Being J.R. Smith's brother may make Chris a keeper for Knicks

Chris Smith poses with a basketball at Knicks Chris Smith poses with a basketball at Knicks media day. (Sept. 30, 2013) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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GREEN BAY -- Being J.R. Smith's brother seems to be paying off for Chris Smith.

Mike Woodson said Chris is "still in the mix," and that his relationship to J.R. factors into the decision of whether to keep him on the roster.

"Sure it does," Woodson said. "I look at him just like I look at J.R. Although J.R. is the guy who's played in the uniform and has been very productive for us -- I have a great deal of respect for that family and that's his brother. I respect that.

"But we got to make some decisions and what those decisions are going to be at this point I don't know."

The Knicks have 12 players with guaranteed contracts, so they could keep up to three players. All signs point to Smith being one of them despite being just 1-for 7 in the preseason in a team-low 20 minutes, including none in Wednesday night's 105-95 loss to the Bucks at Resch Center.

Woodson said he will sit down with new president Steve Mills and other Knicks officials after practice Thursday to discuss cuts. Rosters have to be set by Monday. Woodson said the roster probably would be set by Friday's preseason finale.

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"He's still in the mix," Woodson said. "I can't give you any answers in terms of which way we're going to go."

Smith acknowledged he likely would be assigned to the Knicks' D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. But the former Manhattan College and Louisville guard would be taking up the spot of someone who might be serviceable this season.

Combo guard Toure' Murry and power forward Ike Diogu have been the most productive camp invitees in preseason. But right now the Knicks may only keep one because Smith and injured big man Jeremy Tyler seem safe bets to make the team. Woodson wants to see Tyler, who had foot surgery in September, when he's healthy. "I don't think we kick him to the curb because we thought so much of him coming out of summer league," Woodson said. "I think you got to at least see it through, see what he has to offer."

The Knicks need insurance up front with Amar'e Stoudemire returning from another knee surgery and Kenyon Martin limited by an ankle issue. They also have no prototypical backup center to spell Tyson Chandler.

Cole Aldrich hasn't stood out in the preseason. Neither has power forward Josh Powell or small forward CJ Leslie, who received a partially guaranteed deal but is expected to be cut.

It makes sense for the Knicks to keep Murry and two healthy big men. But that doesn't seem to be the way they're leaning.

Notes & quotes: Woodson said Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and Martin felt fine after Tuesday's scrimmage. Barring a setback, Smith should play in Friday's preseason finale at the Garden, but the status of Stoudemire and Martin for that game is unclear . . . Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 16 points.

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