Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Mike Woodson unhappy with J.R. Smith's Twitter spat
Mike Woodson is trying to get the Knicks to play well on the court. But he’s also had to spend extra time lately with players off the court, trying to make sure they stay focused, professional and productive.
Woodson met with Iman Shumpert about the ongoing trade rumors involving him before Wednesday’s win over Atlanta. He also had a closed-door meeting with J.R. Smith and Chris Smith about the Twitter spat with Brandon Jennings before last night’s loss to Houston.
During his weekly radio spot on spot on 98.7 FM ESPN New York today, Woodson admitted he was “not happy” with J.R. and said “eventually no team is going to want to deal with you,” if he keeps putting himself in these positions.
He took to Twitter to defend his brother Chris when Jennings questioned whether he belonged in the NBA. Smith seemed to threaten Jennings in one tweet. The NBA was looking into the matter.
Smith was fined $25,000 two seasons ago for posting an inappropriate photo of a woman on Twitter, and was suspended the first five games of the season for failing drug test. Woodson said Smith needs to steer clear of controversy for his good and the good of the team.
“I was not happy about that and that’s why we had a behind-the-door meeting with he and Chris because It’s ridiculous,” Woodson said during the radio interview. “There’s got to come a time where you stop putting yourself in that position.
“I don’t know what’s going to come of it if anything becomes of it but you can’t keep putting yourself in that position. It’s going to come a time when you keep doing it eventually no team is going to want to deal with you. You got to learn from it. Those are the things where I’m trying to get this young man to.”
It’s been a rough go for the Knicks early. They’re 3-5 and take a four-game home losing streak into tomorrow’s game against the Hawks. Before the game, Woodson said he plans to sit with Amar’e Stoudemire and discuss the best way to get more out of him and keep him happy.
Stoudemire was 0-for-3 and scoreless in 5:03 last night. He’s scored 14 points in 49 minutes over five games this season. The Knicks are limiting the six-time All-Star’s minutes after he underwent his third knee surgery in about 10 months over the summer. Stoudemire, who isn’t nearly as explosive as he was before, is struggling finding any rhythm.
“I got to help him,” Woodson said. “I understand we do have restricted minutes with him. I just got to get him in a better place, where he’s feeling good about himself. I got a great deal of respect for Amar’e Stoudemire. I got to help him.
“It’s new for everybody. It’s certainly new for him. I don’t think in the history of our game we’ve ever had a player this high profile dealing with something like this and certainly from a coach’s standpoint I’ve never had to deal with restricted minutes. We’ve got to find a common ground for Amar’e, where he’s happy, where he can help us win.”
Shumpert continues to be the subject of trade rumors. He’s one of the few Knicks with value and they’re hoping to use him to get some frontcourt help. The Knicks also feel they have enough in the backcourt with Smith and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.
But Woodson said he expects Shumpert to play through the rumors.
“We’re not treating him any differently,” Woodson said. “He’s still playing positive minutes and big minutes. I’m still going to push him and be better, that’s my job as long as he’s wearing a Knicks’ uniform.
“I can’t tell any player that they’re not going to be traded. I’m not in position to do that. But what I can tell a player it is a business and it’s part of the business. Right now you’re in a New York Knicks uniform. The only thing you should be worried about is playing and helping us win basketball games. “