J.R. Smith

Report: Knicks’ J.R. Smith played end of season with fluid in his knee


J.R. Smith struggled in the playoffs. Well, he looked great the first couple games but he really struggled after returning from a one-game suspension for an elbow to the head of Boston’s Jason Terry in the first round.

Against the Pacers he averaged 14 points a game but on just 29 percent shooting. His play was part of the reason Indiana eliminated the Knicks in six games.

Now comes the news that maybe Smith’s slump wasn’t all in his head. Some of it was in his knee, reports the New York Post.

Not only did Carmelo Anthony play with what an MRI exam Wednesday revealed was a partial tear in his left shoulder, but The Post has learned J.R. Smith’s nightmarish playoff performance was partly because of a swollen left knee that contained fluid buildup.

According to a league source, Smith likely will have his knee drained of the fluid in the next two weeks — the same procedure Anthony underwent in March….

“[Smith’s] been playing hurt,” the league source said. “He probably should’ve sat out a couple of games. It’s what Melo had. That’s why he wasn’t driving the ball like he was. That’s why his jump shot wasn’t right, not having the lift.’’

I don’t doubt this is true. It’s also exactly the kind of thing you would want to make public before you became a free agent — Smith is expected to opt out of his $2.9 million contract with the Knicks for next season and seek a bigger payday (likely still with the Knicks). “See, it was my knee, but that’s all better now. So pay me.”

It will be interesting to see what other teams will come after Smith, and in what price range. He can light it up for a team off the bench, as we saw when a hot second half of the season won him the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. But he takes a lot of bad shots (he just tends to make more than most) and his isolation-heavy game is not a fit in every system.

With family roots in the area, I expect he stays a Knick. But it will be interesting to watch unfold.

Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty

Thabo Sefolosha
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Thabo Sefolosha clearly believed in his innocence.

The Hawks wing rejected a plea deal of only day of community service and six months probation. That probably would have been easier than a trial.

But Sefolosha opted to fight the charges – misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Today, he was vindicated.

Robert Silverman:

Sefolosha, who missed the playoffs due to a leg injury that seemingly occurred during his arrest, has made his case clear: New York police targeted him because he’s black. Given everything else we know about policing habits, that’s certainly believable.

We’ve also seen video of multiple officers literally pulling Sefolosha in different directions and one striking him in the leg with a nightstick. We don’t know what preceded that video, but especially given the information revealed at trial, it’s difficult to justify that use of force.

This verdict probably sets up Sefolosha’ to sue the NYPD.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.