Keith Smart’s a Player’s Coach

by November 07, 2010

The evidence is piling up. Keith Smart likes his players; his players like him. Jonathan Abrams of the NY Times gives us yet another example, this one involving Double-double Lee (also, read the rest of this piece. It’s about a whole lot more than Smart.): “This is how David Lee realized he was truly wanted here. The Los Angeles Lakers had just handcuffed Lee, holding him to no points and handing the Warriors their first loss of the season. That night, Golden State’s first-year coach, Keith Smart, called him. As a player, Smart had been there. He figured Lee would play the lowlights on an endless loop through the night. Those nights occasionally happen, Smart said, but the games should be quickly forgotten. ‘I felt it was important to him, even if I couldn’t get ahold of him at 1 a.m., to call and leave a message on his phone,’ Smart said. This is how Lee truly realized he was not in the Knicks’ plans after spending five years with them. Lee, who became a free agent in the 2010 off-season, said he did not receive a phone call from the Knicks until Donnie Walsh, the team’s president, agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that sent Lee to the Warriors in July. Through their quest for other free agents, Lee became a memorable figure in a forgettable Knicks era.”