J.R. Smith not eligible to be traded until Jan. 15

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The NBA’s trading season unofficially opened on Sunday, because Dec. 15 marked the first day that the majority of players who signed new contracts over the summer are eligible to be included in trades to other teams.

But a select few players aren’t yet eligible.

The collective bargaining agreement has various restrictions in place for teams over the salary cap, and one of the more likely clubs to want to engage in trade talks can’t yet deal one of its more disappointing players this season.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Under a quirk in the new collective bargaining agreement, J.R. Smith is eligible to be traded Jan. 15 and the way things are going, the Knicks would have to explore it.

Smith is one of seven free agents signed in July who won’t become trade eligible for another month because their teams are over the salary cap and they signed for 120 percent more than their prior season’s salary.

The Knicks have been working on a deal for the raptors’ Kyle Lowry, but Smith wasn’t part of those negotiations. The sticking point there is the inclusion of a young player like Tim Hardaway Jr. or Iman Shumpert, and/or a first round draft pick that New York has been reluctant to give up to this point in the talks.

Smith is underperforming after winning the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award a season ago, averaging eight less points per game and shooting almost nine percentage points worse from the field. He also chose to have offseason surgery only after he secured his three-year, $18 million free agent contract, and followed that up by being suspended five games for violating the league’s drug policy.

Add all that to Smith’s recent reported blowup with head coach Mike Woodson, and you’d understand why the Knicks might consider trading him. But that can’t happen until Jan. 15.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.

Trey Lyles dunks on Jayson Tatum then disrespects him far worse (video)

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Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.

On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.