Have you spent the summer wondering why Phil Jackson would provide LeBron James with a measure of depth in the form of J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for so little return? Me neither, but the New York Post’s Tim Bontemps quotes former Jackson associate Charlie Rosen as claiming the Knicks club president saw little value to keeping either player :
Jackson had previously met individually with all three of his shooting guards — Smith, Shumpert and Tim Hardaway, Jr. — all of whom were playing below expectations. Jackson said Hardaway appeared to respond to some of the things discussed, but talks with Smith and Shumpert didn’t seem to resolve anything.
“We talked about [Smith’s] statement to the press that our shooting-guard depth was going to be the team’s asset, but so far it hadn’t worked out that way,” Jackson said. “He was supposed to carry the scoring load for the second unit and he wasn’t doing the job. I also said that because of his unacceptable behavior, he had two strikes against him with this team. He didn’t really respond. He’s a very sensitive guy, with his big doe eyes. He looked like he was going to tear up. But he finally responded that he was going through some issues with his gal.”
As for his meeting with Shumpert, Jackson said, “After he suffered a hip injury in Dallas, his game went rapidly downhill. Did he have any other issues to explain his decline? He said, ‘No. I don’t know what has gone wrong with my game.’ As with J. R., nothing got resolved.”