J.R. Smith’s brother, Chris Smith was one of three training camp invitees to survive cut day. The other two were combo guard Toure’ Murry and center Cole Aldrich.
The Knicks waived five players - Ike Diogu, CJ Leslie, Jeremy Tyler, Josh Powell and Chris Douglas-Roberts - before tonight’s preseason finale against the Bobcats.
Their roster as of right now stands at 15. Opening night is Wednesday.
It’s possible the Knicks could make another cut if there is someone one the waiver wire that they think can help them. Smith’s contract becomes guaranteed if he’s on the opening-night roster.
Earlier this week, Mike Woodson said “sure it does,” when he asked if being J.R. Smith’s brother would factor into the Knicks’ decision on what to do with Chris.
An undrafted guard, Smith is just 1-for-7 in a team-low 20 minutes in the first six preseason games. It’s expected Smith will be assigned to the Knicks D-League team, the Erie BayHawks, so he can play and develop.
Players that the Knicks assign to the D-League count on the 15-man roster.
It is surprising since the Knicks have some injury issues up front with Amar’e Stoudemire returning from another knee operation and Kenyon Martin nursing an ankle injury that they didn’t keep two big men.
It was expected that they were going to hold on to Tyler, who impressed them in summer league. But he had surgery in September to repair a stress fracture of his right fifth metatarsal and still isn’t close to playing. Woodson seemed to be leaning toward keeping Tyler and trying to develop him.
But the Knicks don’t have a prototypical backup center. The 6-foot-11 Aldrich is a center. But he didn’t stand out in the preseason, averaging 0.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in 11.4 minutes, and it is somewhat surprising he is still with the Knicks.
Power forward Ike Diogu had some solid moments in preseason, scoring at least 10 points in three games he received extended minutes. But he was let go.
The undrafted 6-5 Murry, 24, has played well in the preseason. He’s more of a scorer than point guard. He’s averaged 10.2 points and 1.8 assists thus far.
It’s possible Murry and Aldrich could be assigned to the D-League since both need to play. But it could depend on the health of some of the Knicks’ other players.
Leslie was given a partially guaranteed deal for $200,000, but was unimpressive in the preseason. The undrafted forward averaged 2.4 points in 7.2 minutes.