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Chris Smith, brother of J.R. Smith, released from D-League team following dispute over playing time

Mar 4, 2014, 5:28 PM EST

Vitor Faverani, Phil Pressey, Chris Smith AP

Chris Smith was given earned a roster spot on the Knicks prior to the beginning of the season, in what was reportedly a deal made when signing his brother J.R. Smith in free agency last summer.

The entirety of Chris’s contract of $490,000 became fully guaranteed on opening night, but it cost New York more than $2 million when factoring in luxury tax penalties.

As the season began to get away from the Knicks and they realized that they could actually use that roster spot for someone who might be able to help the cause, Chris was waived, and J.R. immediately called it a betrayal. After all of this, Chris eventually landed with the D-League’s Erie BayHawks, but that relationship has come to an end under less than ideal circumstances.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

League sources told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday that the younger Smith had several run-ins with the BayHawks’ coaching staff, which contributed to the team’s decision to release him.

And from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Before Erie released Chris Smith today, he had packed up and left team several days ago, source tells Yahoo. Didn’t like his playing time.

The D-League isn’t for everyone — the lifestyle is far less glamorous than that of the NBA, and players who are there are ridden harder by coaches because of the developmental nature of the environment.

It doesn’t matter whether or not we believe Chris’s claim that he earned his initial place with the Knicks. If he believes, it, then he may also feel he’s above dealing with the D-League as a step to return to an NBA roster, which is a shame — because regardless of how he’s gotten to this point, it’s still an opportunity that many players would kill for, and he just doesn’t seem all that interested in taking advantage.

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