Phil Jackson: J.R. Smith Exhibited ‘Delinquent Behavior’

When he’s not putting out senseless and poorly-worded tweets, Phil Jackson appears to communicate with the outside world mostly through Charley Rosen, a longtime sycophant pal of the Zen Master.

Jackson ripped a bunch of former New York Knicks players in Rosen’s latest dispatch for ESPN.

With typically brutal candor, the Knicks’ team president explains the logic behind the discarding of both J.R. Smith (“delinquent behavior”) and Iman Shumpert (too loud a personality) last season:

The Knicks were winless on a November Southwest trip, losing to Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City, but there was even worse news from his staff. […] “J.R. had been exhibiting some delinquent behavior and had gotten into the habit of coming late to team meetings, or missing them altogether,” Jackson says. “Also, Shump and Tim [Hardaway Jr.] were regressing, so I decided to meet with them separately and try to find out what, if anything, was bothering them.”


Smith was first on the list. “We talked about his 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 says. “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.”


“I asked Fish what players were the biggest distractions. He said that although J.R. never talked back to him, he always walked around under a dark cloud. Derek was worried that negative energy was contagious.”


Shumpert was another problem. “I like Shump,” says Jackson, “but he has a very loud, big personality. It was difficult for most of the other guys to deal with, especially if things don’t go well for him or the team.” […] The other nuisance, according to Jackson, was Sam Dalembert, who had fallen asleep in the pregame locker room sessions.

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