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

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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.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.