The New York Knicks have cleared the path for J.R. Smith's brother, Chris Smith, to make the team's 15-man regular season roster. The team officially announced the release of Ike Diogu, C.J. Leslie, Josh Powell, Jeremy Tyler and Chris Douglas-Roberts on Friday as they cut down their roster prior to Monday's roster cut deadline.
Smith has played a total 20 minutes during the Knicks' preseason, the lowest total on the roster. He has gone one-of-seven from the field and scored three points, also the lowest total on the roster. Every player that was cut in front of him had more points and minutes played, but the front office apparently decided against releasing him.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson has hinted that Chris Smith's relation to J.R. could be a factor in his making the team, Chris Herring of the Wall-Street Journal reported on Wednesday:
"Sure it does," Woodson said, when asked whether Chris Smith's family name factors into the team's decision to keep him on the roster when the regular season begins next week.
"Although J.R.'s the guy that's played for me and been very productive for us, I have a great deal of respect for that family," Woodson said. "That's his brother, and I respect that. So we've got to make some decisions. What those decisions will be, I don't know."
Herring also notes that Chris Smith is represented by Creative Artists Agency, the same group that handles J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Mike Woodson. They could be leveraging to keep the agency happy leading up to the summer when Anthony can become a free agent if he declines his player option.
Smith went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft and the Knicks had invited him to training camp last summer as well. He suffered a knee injury during camp and was waived by the team prior to final roster cuts last season. Toure' Murry and Cole Aldrich also remain on the 15-man roster.