The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman claims MSG tried to cut Knicks analyst Kenny Smith’s per game paycheck from $10,000 to $2-$3K. “That ain™t no trim. That™s a shaved head,” sneers Raissman (who oughta know).

œThey told me they want the telecast to have a local feel. After doing TNT (where he works the NBA pre- and postgame shows with Charles Barkley) I can™t do that, Smith said. œI don™t want to go backwards. That™s not me. That™s not really what I want to be part of. No hard feelings. None whatsoever.

When a voice starts talking about œlocal this or that, he might be referring to the overall quality of the telecast and a conscious decision to spend less on a production – do it on the cheap. More likely, he is talking about œnational money, which – for a sports broadcaster – is a significantly bigger payday than a œlocal check.

Mr. Smith just chuckled when asked if œlocal economics played a part in him leaving MSG. Yet, he did say at TNT œeverything that surrounds the production has a œnational feel.

œLook, I liked being part of the Garden, Smith said. œBut when they decided to take different directions, different steps, I couldn™t be part of that. I want to be part of something that has, at least, a delusion of grandeur. I guess MSG now has a realistic view of who they really are.