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Phil Jackson Says ‘Delinquent Behavior’ Led To Knicks Trading J.R. Smith

USA Today

USA Today

The New York Knicks have made quite a few moves since Phil Jackson took over as team president. Jackson has tried to mold the Knicks into a team that contend in the Eastern Conference and as a result has had to part ways with certain players to make that happen.

One of those players was troubled shooting guard J.R. Smith. Although still a talented scorer with plenty good years left in him at 29, the veteran was sent packing to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with Iman Shumpert before the NBA trade deadline last season.

According to Jackson, Smith became a problem for the Knicks due to his behavior leading to the team trading him to Cleveland, via ESPN:

“J.R. had been exhibiting some delinquent behavior and had gotten into the habit of coming late to team meetings, or missing them altogether,” Jackson says. “Also, Shump and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] were regressing, so I decided to meet with them separately and try to find out what, if anything, was bothering them.”

During a potentially short stint with the Cavaliers last season, Smith played well in a role he’s best suited for. Cleveland ultimately reached the NBA Finals only to lose to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

Although it seemed Smith may have earned another contract with the Cavaliers or at least another season with his player option, the veteran chose to opt out of his deal and as a result is searching for work around the league. Smith hasn’t received considerable interest since becoming a free agent and appears to be struggling to find a new deal.

It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that Smith will re-sign with the Cavaliers, but Jackson coming out to explain why the veteran guard didn’t work in New York won’t help his case moving forward.

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