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J.R. Smith’s brother Chris costing the Knicks over $2 million this season

Nov 13, 2013, 12:33 AM EDT

Vitor Faverani, Phil Pressey, Chris Smith AP

When Chris Smith tried to tell us that he earned his roster spot with the Knicks to start the season, the amount of disbelief expressed was understandable.

Despite his declaration, most saw his addition to New York’s squad for what it was — a favor to the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith, who could have left the Knicks this summer as a free agent.

Plenty of players have friends or family members on payrolls around the league, but having one taking up a precious roster spot is something else entirely. It adds to the lore of disfunction within the Knicks franchise, and whether it is deserved or it isn’t, what’s indisputable is that this particular decision is costing the team far more than Chris Smith’s $490,000 guaranteed salary.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Point guard Chris Smith has become the D-League’s first $2 million player.

That’s the amount Smith, J.R. Smith’s brother, is costing the Knicks as their 15th man due to the punitive luxury-tax system under the new collective bargaining agreement. …

Hence, the Knicks are paying Smith his minimum contract of $491,000 and have to pay the league’s escrow account an additional $1.6 million in luxury tax, equaling about $2.1 million. Because of a favorable quirk in his contract, the whole sum became fully guaranteed on opening night.

Smith will spend time developing in the D-League, but the Knicks could have had him do that at a far less expensive price. Had New York simply waived Smith before the season began, his contract would not have been guaranteed, but they still would have retained his D-League rights.

That’s exactly what the Spurs did by signing Josh Howard and waiving him a day later before the season started. But then again, it’s probably silly to compare a move made by the NBA’s model franchise to something done by a team which sits near the opposite end of that spectrum.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    This same kind of foolishness has plagued this team since 1977 when G&W bought it, and escalated when Dolan bought it after the Finals in 1994. When you operate like a money laundering business, there’s no wonder there’s no continuity, and therefore, no titles since they broke up the title teams.

    Oh, and G&W’s first order of business? SHIPPING CLYDE TO CLEVELAND. So no one’s surprised by the foolishness, and I don’t even care who trash talks my team, because I do enough of it myself.

  2. ajarrell8 - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:57 AM

    JR needs this. He is a good man and a good friend. Support your team Knicks fans

  3. 00maltliquor - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    This is a really wierd situation.

    And you know he didn’t earn his spot when there was no more need at the SG position with Shumpert, JR, Prigioni, and Hardaway Jr. What did Chris have to add that those others didn’t?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:35 AM

      CAA ties.

  4. jolink653 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    I really can’t wait until Dolan is forced to sell the team, but we’re in for a lifetime of misery and frustration until that happens…I don’t think I’ve ever see a more dysfunctional, poorly run, idiotic franchise, and the twist is I’m still a fan…pathetic

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 13, 2013 at 2:48 AM

      We have to be fans, when he is finally gone, and the team can run properly, we’ll enjoy it more poignantly if they ever win again. I want them to do so in CLYDE’S lifetime, as well as mine, though.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 13, 2013 at 3:02 AM

      Before they ran into Blake Griffin and David Stern c-blocked the CP3 deal, having him ultimatly land down the other locker room in LA, it’s been the Clippers, hands down. And it’s not even close.

    • thebigcaptain2011 - Nov 13, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      Dolan would have to truly sabotage his own team for Adam Silver to force him to sell. Some Knicks fans would argue that he has already done so, but not enough in the eyes of the NBA. It’s still a highly profitable team that puts people in the seats, sells merchandise like crazy and draws high ratings worldwide. Look at this situation similar to the current state of the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys fans are disgusted with their owner but reality can’t be escaped. Both Jerry Jones and James Dolan will be around for a very long time and so will the fans.

      To me the biggest mistake James Dolan made was forcing the hand of the GM to trade for ‘Melo mid-season rather than allowing him to sign in the off-season. I know reports said that would have made ‘Melo upset and increased the chances of him going elsewhere (he wasn’t. He will be a Knick going forward, where he always wanted to be). The assets given up, especially Lawson and Dino, could have put them in a very nice place at least for that first season ‘Melo was there and before Amare Stoudamire became Amare Stoudamire’s albatross of a contract.

      • 00maltliquor - Nov 14, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        Lawson was never part of the Knicks. He was drafted by the T-Wolves and traded to DEN on draft night.

  5. - Nov 13, 2013 at 4:53 AM

    This guy is no good and they are paying too much for him.

  6. aht66 - Nov 13, 2013 at 7:50 AM

    I am a longtime fan and remember the glory days of winning. I was just a small child during the championship years so I can’t say I remember that. What I’m talking about are the years of trying to compete, going a 7 games series and not getting blown out. Not getting bounced in the first round, but competing in hard fought battles with MJ and the Bulls or Reggie’s Pacers. There are other teams that the old school Knicks would face that always brought out the best in the team. Sorry I got sidetracked! The Knicks ownership is delusional about winning! How can they explain letting promising young players walk by not matching offers, and than signing old has been , used to be, or never was players to fill out the roster. They went out and traded away Novak for Bargnani! We have zero depth at center but 8 guards listed on the roster! The Knicks ownership isn’t serious about winning just whining!

  7. aht66 - Nov 13, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    The best pick up this off season has been Metta World Peace! He is out on the court completing, and hustling every play. Blame Woodson, blame Carmelo? If they fire the coach and Carmelo walks, whose to blame than? Who let Lin and Copeland get away? The same misguided ownership that still consults with Zeke.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      I miss Metta in LA. He plays hard every play and really brings the energy level of the team up along with him.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Lin is a waste, but the season was set up for Cope to FLOURISH and we let him walk.

  8. azarkhan - Nov 13, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    “But then again, it’s probably silly to compare a move made by the NBA’s model franchise to something done by a team which sits near the opposite end of that spectrum.”

    No probably about it. Other then the fact that the Spurs and Knicks both need oxygen to survive, there is no comparison between the two franchises.

  9. antihypocritz - Nov 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    It’s garbage moves like this that explain why the Knicks have generated plenty of income, but haven’t won anything in 30 years…

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