In today’s headlines, Mike Woodson addressed J.R. Smith’s five game suspension, Dwight Howard revealed that his former coach was encouraging of a move to Houston and Delonte West has signed a deal to play in China.
Woodson tells Smith to grow up
On Wednesday, Knicks coach Mike Woodson revealed to the media that the team was “disappointed” in JR Smith for his failed drug test earlier in the summer. The NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year violated the NBA’s anti-drug program, earning himself a mandatory five game suspension.
ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian Begley reports Woodson told the media that Smith “has got to grow up and do the right things.”
“I’m not going to throw him out to pasture,” Woodson said. “My job is to coach him and make sure something like what happened doesn’t happen again. That’s what we do as coaches. I expect his teammates to show him some love.
“But at the end of the day, he’s got to do the right thing by JR, and his teammates and me as a coach in this organization and the fans that support him. That’s what it’s all about.”
Smith underwent offseason knee surgery after signing a new contract with the Knicks. His status for the start of the regular season is unknown at this point. Regardless, the 28-year-old will have to wait to serve his five game suspension until he is physically able to play.
Woodson believes that the suspension could prove to be a valuable learning experience for Smith.
“You talk about missing the first five games, I’m not happy about it,” Woodson said. “But hey, we know what we’re facing and we’ve got to get through it and we’ve got to make sure that it’s something that he understands that’s something that can’t happen again.”
Smith addressed the media about the suspension on Monday:
“I’m more disappointed because I let my teammates and my coaches down more than anything,” Smith said. “I let [Knicks owner James] Dolan down.”
Van Gundy told Howard to sign with Rockets
Stan Van Gundy coached Dwight Howard in Orlando from 2007 to 2012. While the coach and star occasionally clashed in their time together with the Magic, they remain close and often exchange text messages.
Apparently, Van Gundy even counseled Howard when it came to making a decision in free agency:
Dwight Howard told me that Stan Van Gundy told him he should go to Houston. Very interesting …
— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) October 2, 2013
Van Gundy, who has been out of the league since 2012, believed the Rockets were the best fit for Howard’s future.
The 27-year-old eventually left a more lucrative offer from the Lakers and decided to team up with James Harden and co. in Houston.
Delonte West signs in China
Without an offer from an NBA team, veteran guard Delonte West has decided to take his talents to Asia.
Chris Haynes of Comcast Sports reports that West has signed a one-year deal with Fujian Xunxing of the Chinese Basketball Association.
West averaged 9.6 points and 3.2 assists in 44 games with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011-2012 but was unable to land a job from an NBA team last season.
Should West play well, he would stillhave an opportunity to sign with an NBA contender in time for the postseason.