Knicks guard J.R. Smith drives past Pacers forward Paul George during a… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)
An untidy mess
It's been such an upside-down season for the New York Knicks that Metta World Peace might represent the voice of reason.
Andrea Bargnani has shown a disdain for shot clocks, Coach Mike Woodson has stashed one too many timeouts in his back pocket and now J.R. Smith has become the shoelace bandit.
The NBA fined the continually wayward guard $50,000 on Wednesday after Smith unsuccessfully tried to untie the shoelace of Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe while standing at the free-throw line. Smith had been warned by the league not to try such a move after he managed to untie one of Shawn Marion's laces last weekend during a game against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks leveled their own punishment. Woodson benched Smith for a game against the Miami Heat and described his behavior as "unacceptable." The team threatened to trade Smith, but who would want an unproductive mischief maker with his resume?
Among other misdeeds committed with Zhejiang of the Chinese Basketball League and detailed by Yahoo Sports, Smith once ran up a nearly $3,000 room service tab as a sort of social experiment in which he wanted to see whether workers would keep delivering tray after tray of food. None of which Smith ate, of course.
Smith also has rolled up hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and lost pay during his 10 seasons in the NBA. Like that room service binge, Smith's tab will undoubtedly keep rising over the final 2 1/2 years of his Knicks contract.
Now and Zen
Brian Shaw once thought his association with the legendary Phil Jackson would be his biggest asset in his quest to be a head coach.
He joked this week upon his return to Staples Center as coach of the Denver Nuggets that it actually might have been his biggest liability; he had been turned down for jobs 11 times before getting the Nuggets' gig.
Shaw said teams were scared off by his association with the triangle offense even though they run similar actions, believing they need a certain type of players to run the system made famous by Jackson and Tex Winter. Shaw said he mostly runs generic versions of offenses used by other teams in the league.
Being the only former Jackson assistant who's a current NBA head coach can be a lonely endeavor.
"I'm proud to be from his coaching tree," Shaw said, "even if I'm the trunk, the branches and the leaves and everything all by myself."
No Love lost
Kevin Love must have been a great hallway monitor in middle school.
The Minnesota Timberwolves star called out two teammates for being out of place during a timeout huddle Wednesday during a late-game collapse against Phoenix.
"We can't have two guys sitting at the end of the bench, who play good minutes, just sitting there and not getting up at timeouts," Love said. "We all need to be in this together. That kind of [ticked] me off. We're supposed to be a team."
Love was referring to Jose Barea and Dante Cunningham, both apparently sulking about being out of the game at the time. A possible retort to Love: A "team" doesn't make these spats public.