The Smiths haven’t received good news over the last couple of days.
First, J.R. Smith learned that despite his preference to start that Mike Woodson wants him to continue coming off the bench. In describing his feelings, Smith said “disappointed would be an understatement.”
Then Smith’s younger brother Chris, who was hoping to get one of the final rosters on the Knicks, learned he needed surgery on his left patella. Chris will have the surgery tomorrow and will miss 3-6 months.
Smith said he had tendonitis when he was at Louisville, but it worsened during training camp.
“I sensed it was bad because I could feel it tweak a little bit and the swelling was just off and my balance in my left leg was off,” Chris Smith said. “So I knew something was wrong.”
Smith said although he signed a non-guaranteed deal, he thought he would make the Knicks.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “No doubt in my mind did I not think I was going to make the team. I feel like my defense is what gets me over the top right now and once I come back I’ll come back stronger.”
Woodson said no determination has been made on whether the Knicks will keep Smith on the roster. It’s disappointing to the Smiths because they were looking forward to sharing this season together.
As it stands, the Knicks have 13 players with guaranteed deals: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, Marcus Camby, J.R. Smith, Steve Novak, Kurt Thomas, Pablo Prigioni, Iman Shumpert, Ronnie Brewer and James White.
Rasheed Wallace is non-guaranteed, but it is expected that he’ll make the team. Presuming he does, that would leave the Knicks with one available roster spot.
We now know that J.R. Smith will be coming off the bench. But Woodson wouldn’t reveal who his starting shooting guard will be for tomorrow night’s preseason opener against Washington.
It could be Mychel Thompson, the son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson and brother of current Warriors’ sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
Brewer and Shumpert are rehabbing from knee surgeries. Best-case scenarios are Brewer will return for the Nov. 1 open and Shumpert sometime in December.
Woodson said Kidd would play some shooting guard, alongside Felton this season. But Woodson isn’t sure if that will happen tomorrow.
“We’ll look at it,” Woodson said. “I don’t know if I’ll do it the first game. I’m just going to play guys on feel. Veteran guys won’t play a lot of minutes. It’ll give us an opportunity to play some of the young guys - we’ll see how it goes.”