For all of J.R. Smith’s antics this season, including tying together the shoelaces of an opponent during the game and verbal altercations with New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson, Woodson said he has not given up on the enigmatic shooting guard.
Not that Woodson is happy with Smith.
“I think it is a privilege to wear a uniform in this league,” Woodson said on ESPN New York. “It’s only 30 teams. There’s [only] so many players on each team. I think every player has a responsibility and has to be held accountable for what they do on a ball club.”
Sources said Smith and Woodson had brief and heated discussions about Smith’s playing time. Woodson did not play Smith on Tuesday against Charlotte.
“J.R.’s wearing a Knick uniform. He’s here. We’re all in J.R.’s corner. That’s never going to change,” Woodson said. “I’ve been one of his biggest supporters, and that will never change. But again, it’s all about team. It’s not about Mike Woodson; it’s not about J.R. It’s about us doing the right things on and off the floor.”
He added: “I’m not kicking J.R. to the curb. J.R. is a big part of what we’ve done here, and he will remain a big part. But he’s just got to make sure that he’s on the same page with the head coach in terms of what I’m expecting from him and what I want him to do in terms of his play and what he’s doing on and off the court to help us win basketball games.”
Smith said Tuesday that Woodson did not tell him before the game that he wasn’t going to play.
“After a while,” Woodson said, “enough talk is enough talk. After a while, the player has got to be more accountable and take more responsibility, and that’s where we are at this point. At the end of the day, that player has got to be more responsible, more held accountable for his actions.”