Give me one word to describe how the New York Knicks conduct business.
Insane. Senseless. Awkward. They all fit, especially that last one—and especially now.
Chris Smith, the 15th man on the Knicks roster, who also happens to be the younger brother of New York's resident chucker J.R. Smith, doesn't have the faith of the team's coaching staff, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Within the Knicks coaching staff, they believe Chris Smith doesn't even have the talent to be an NBA Development League player—never mind worthy of a roster spot. One opposing GM called him "maybe the worst player in the history of the [NBA] summer league."
In two years, the Knicks have handed Smith, who has yet to play in a regular-season game, two guaranteed contracts. While he was on a non-guaranteed deal over the offseason, the team will have to pay every cent of his $490,180 salary since he made the opening-night roster. As the New York Daily News' Frank Isola previously observed, those terms are unusual.
Unusual. There's another word befitting of the Knicks' approach to personnel decisions.
Nothing about their methods is conventional, or even acceptable (see handling of Donnie Walsh, Glen Grunwald, Steve Mills, etc.). They're the team that doesn't tell you when a player is injured but won't hesitate to openly support nepotism.
"Sure it does," head coach Mike Woodson told reporters in October of Smith's roster chances increasing because his brother was already on the team, per Isola.
If there was any team in the NBA smart enough to understand the potential value of a 15th man, it should be the Knicks. But it's not, because they're the Knicks—discursive and cryptic as ever.
Jeremy Lin, Chris Copeland—do those names ring a bell? On paper, the final roster slot may seem worthless because, most of the time, it is. Sometimes, though, coaches are forced to empty their bench. They are put in a position where the inactive must become active. Be it out of necessity or personal preference, it happens.
When it does, it's best to have a player with at least some professional potential rounding out your docket. Not someone like Smith, a player garnering the unofficial title of "worst player" in summer league history.
If you ever find yourself wondering what is wrong with these Knicks, don't look to Coach Woodson. Or Carmelo Anthony. Or even Creative Artists Agency, the representative of the Woodson, Anthony and the Smith brothers.
Look to Chris Smith's contract—to owner James Dolan. Look to the current roster, bereft of a legitimate big man in the absence of Tyson Chandler, because the Knicks just had to sign Smith.
Look to an orbiting series of poor decisions that have us accepting the insane, the senseless, the awkward and the unusual as business as usual in New York.
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