The incredulity over the Knicks signing (and, oddly, retaining) J.R. Smith's brother Chris on a fully guaranteed contract extends even into the realm of NBA players itself. Late Wednesday night, Pistons guard Brandon Jennings took to Twitter to convey his disbelief that Smith had secured a roster spot -- a topic du jour after the New York Post tabulated that Smith's signing would cost New York a shade over $2 million this season.
Jennings' tweet on the subject has since been deleted, but the original text has been retained in this retweet from hoops scribe Holly MacKenzie:
Jennings very clearly has a point. While Bobby Brown and Pooh Jeter -- the two players mentioned by Jennings specifically -- are fringe NBA players at best, it would be a stretch to consider the younger Smith even with them at this point. He has been miserable on the one professional basketball stage of his career (the Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged five points in nearly 20 minutes per game on 22 percent shooting), was unimpressive at the collegiate level, and has in no way made a case for himself to even compete for an NBA roster spot.
The arrangement has been fairly above-board, as far as nepotism goes, with Knicks head coach Mike Woodson laying out plainly during training camp that Smith's family ties helped his chances to make the team. Again, from Berman of the New York Post:
Woodson said J.R.’s presence carries a lot of weight as to whether the Knicks keep his brother.
“Sure, it does,” Woodson said. “I look at him just like I look at J.R., though J.R. is the guy who played in a uniform and has been very productive for us. I have a great deal of respect for that family. That’s his brother. I respect that. We’ve got to make some decisions. What those decisions will be, I don’t know.’’
Such framing didn't stop J.R. from taking exception to Jennings' comments, as he quickly took to his own Twitter account to defend his brother/exacerbate the situation:
Smith also posted a not-so-veiled threat, which he later deleted (I'll let the self-satire speak for itself). The original text is as follows:
Might call some of my Number street homies an put #Detroit on smash for a min! #DeadSerious
Chris opted to stay out of this mess, but J.R. kept at it:
...despite Jennings' attempts to move on:
Keen to have the last word, J.R. followed up with two more tweets, both of which have, again, since been deleted:
Here we go sub tweeting again! I didn't hear nothing when @joshselby32 got in them pockets! Money on me all day everyday go get who u want!
What a delightful exchange all around: "tough" tweeting, instant regret, and laughable passive-aggressiveness from a pair of infamous talkers. Thus is the gift of having defensive NBA players with access to an internet megaphone in the wee hours of the morning.