Even if the New York Knicks are able to keep both Pablo Prigioni and Jason Kidd this off-season they could certainly use more athleticism and explosiveness from the point guard position. In theory, Chris Smith seems to fit that bill. Not only can he play defense, he's athletic and only 25 years old. However, it doesn't sound like the Knicks see Chris as a viable option.
Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork reports Chris playing for the Knicks is just not going to happen.
One source said Chris Smith, J.R.'s younger brother, will not be considered.Last season Chris’ was in training camp with the Knicks but his time with the team was ended after a left knee injury that would require surgery to repair his patella tendon. He remained under the care of the team since he was signed to their D-League affiliate.
"Chris is not an NBA player -- not even close," the source said. "He will never play for them."
Secretly, the Knicks were probably a bit relieved by his injury because they didn't have to disappoint him or upset J.R. by cutting Chris and sending him on his way. Chris was never viewed as someone good enough to play on the NBA level. After going undrafted, he was only given a chance by New York as a courtesy to his brother.
According to his Twitter account, Chris doesn't see it that way.
I will be back next season along with my big brother @TheRealJRSmith ... Will be a blessing to wear my Knicks uniform.. Prep for 2014 is nowIn fact, Chris recently switched agents over to CAA who represents his brother J.R. as well. While CAA might push for a regular roster spot for Chris and J.R. might wish to have his brother on the team, that doesn't sound like it's going to happen with the Knicks or anywhere else.
The Knicks will be limited this summer in free agency. Basically, they'll only be able only to sign players with the mini taxpayers mid-level exception which is about $3.2 million and the league minimum.
However, one of the few exceptions to that is with J.R. because they hold his early Bird rights. With those rights the Knicks could re-signing J.R. for around $5.5 million for between two to four years. However, if another team came gave him a better offer they wouldn't be able to match it. Instead they'll have to rely on J.R.'s desire to retire with the Knicks.
Right now all signs point towards J.R. re-signing with New York on a multi-year deal. However, signs also point towards him being the only Smith brother on the Knicks roster. If Chris were to be signed to the Knicks D-League team it wouldn't be surprising. That could allow him to make money, technically be with the Knicks and improve his game while showcasing his skills for other teams. However, his chances of ever playing for the Knicks are very slim. For that to happen, the Knicks would have to suffer some major injuries and free agent pickings would have to be very low.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.