UPDATE 7.44 p.m. ET: J.R. Smith is now expected to play in Game 3, according to multiple reports, including this one from the New York Post.
1:02 p.m. ET: New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith missed shootaround on Saturday and is questionable for Game 3 against the Pacers, according to the team’s official public relations Twitter page.
The reason given for Smith’s absence was illness, and head coach Mike Woodson told reporters his Sixth Man of the Year was home with a 102 degree fever (via Al Innazzone of Newsday).
But it’s worth noting that Smith has been mired in a dreadful shooting slump, and has gone just 7-of-30 from the field over his last two games. Woodson has said he would consider benching Smith in favor of more productive options should he continue to struggle.
Smith hasn’t spoken to reporters since after the team’s Game 2 win, and the Knicks are famously protective of their players where the media is concerned. In addition to the shooting woes, Smith was seen partying with singer Rihanna this week, and while a majority of players in the league are out late consistently, Smith is under the microscope playing where he does, and his actions are being scrutinized even more closely considering his recent performance.
On a more positive note, the Knicks are expected to see Amar’e Stoudemire return to the lineup for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in early March. He’s expected to play 10-15 minutes off the bench, and if healthy, could be a big help to New York’s chances against the big front line of the Pacers.
Last May, Magic Johnson tweeted that the Lakers chase LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan in free agency. All three players were still under contract with their teams until July 1.
In response to that apparent tampering, the Lakers announced Johnson had asked the team to remove his title of Vice President.
Too little, too late.
William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn of ESPN:
Outside the Lines learned this week — and confirmed with a senior Lakers official — that the NBA fined the team over Johnson’s communiques about players under contract to other teams.
If Drake got the Raptors fined for tampering by pitching Durant during a concert, the Lakers deserved this fine.
Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian are dating. There are mixed reports about whether they’re engaged.
No matter their exact terms of their relationship, it brings increased attention to the Cavaliers – who are already in the spotlight as LeBron James‘ team and the defending NBA champions.
LeBron might not welcome increased scrutiny.
Gabriella Ginsberg of Hollywood Life:
LeBron James hasn’t been happy that Tristan Thompson is dating drama magnet Khloe Kardashian, and we hear that the teammates had a locker room showdown before the Cavs’ home opener game.
“Tristan isn’t taking any crap from his teammates anymore. As far as he’s concerned, Khloe’s coming to every damn game she chooses,” the insider reveals. “Tristan told LeBron straight up before last night’s game that Khloe was coming and that was that.”
There’s nothing wrong with LeBron, as a friend, advising Thompson about his personal life. They share an agent, Rich Paul, and that obviously means a lot to LeBron.
But at a certain point, LeBron should back off. Neither coworkers nor friends have a right to determine who someone dates.
76ers players are unsure how to respond to their franchise blocking Sevyn Streeter from singing the national anthem because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
Justise Winslow is seemingly trying to nudge Philadelphia in a certain direction.
The Heat forward posted a photo with himself and the 76ers’ Jerami Grant raising fists and captioned it “WE MATTER”:
I’m unsure when this photo was taken, but my best guess is after the Miami-Philadelphia preseason game – which was preceded by the national-anthem singer kneeling during her performance.
Was Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha making the smart play to beat the defender or just showing off?
Either way, I’m glad he did it.