The ongoing rift between JR Smith and New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson has remained somewhat of a mystery, but Woodson’s motives for benching Smith are starting to become more clear. On Tuesday night, Smith was benched for the second time in four games. Woodson offered no explanation for the decision.
Why did Smith play two games in between benchings? Frank Isola of the NY Daily News reports that Smith was benched against the Charlotte Bobcats after having words with Woodson the previous night.
J.R. Smith’s benching in Charlotte Tuesday night may have been a direct result of Smith sitting most of the overtime in Monday’s win over Phoenix.
According to a source, Smith was vocal with coach Mike Woodson about not starting the extra session against Phoenix after missing what would have been a game-winning shot at the end of regulation.
That would make sense. Some have speculated that Smith’s childish habit of untying opponents’ shoelaces during free throw attempts had resulted in disciplinary action, but in reality it seems like Woodson has simply had enough of his antics. The two also reportedly had a heated exchange last month.
Smith signed a three-year, $18 million deal this past offseason. With recent rumors surfacing that indicate the Knicks are looking to trade him, it appears highly unlikely that Smith will remain in New York for the length of that contract. He’s an important part of the Knicks’ offense when cooperative, but he’ll need to change his attitude for that to matter.