J.R. Smith is averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds this season. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images Sport)
Smith took exception to a Twitter post from Jennings which questioned Knicks guard Chris Smith's NBA credentials. J.R. Smith is Chris Smith's older brother.
"Wait wait wait [JR Smith's] brother is in the NBA but Pooh Jeter [and] Bobby Brown isn't," Jennings wrote. "Call me [a] hater but [I'm] not Rollin!!!"
Jennings later deleted the message, but Smith responded with a series of posts, including one message that was read by some as a veiled threat.
No respect for these lil kids who pop at the mouth on twitter an then want to delete they tweets! #GrowUp! #ManUp! #Facts!
Might call some of my Number street homies [and] put #Detroit on smash for a min! #DeadSerious
No war! But ain't no #peace
The New York Daily News reported Thursday that Smith denied threatening Jennings and said that he was merely sticking up for his younger brother.
Asked before Thursday night’s game whether he intended to threaten with that message, Smith said, “No. There’s a way to threaten somebody and that’s not the way to publicly threaten somebody.”
Said Smith Thursday of his brother: “It happens every day, people criticizing (him), talking about what he deserves and doesn’t deserve. I think he works hard for what he does and whoever doesn’t like it, doesn’t like it. ... I was definitely frustrated. You get tired of people trying to pick on your little brother. It’s my little brother – I am going to step up for him good, bad or ugly. It’s not just Brandon. It’s anyone who says anything about him.”
Chris Smith's presence on New York's roster has come under greater scrutiny because the Knicks have suffered a number of frontcourt injuries, a problem that management can't easily address without an open roster spot. Meanwhile, as The Point Forward's Rob Mahoney noted earlier this week, Chris Smith is reportedly costing the Knicks upwards of $2 million (including luxury tax costs), even though he's likely headed to the D-League.
This Twitter beef marks another chapter in the long trials and tribulations of Smith, who missed the first five games of the season because he was serving a suspension for violating the league's anti-drug program. Prior to that, his suspensions include: 10 games in 2006 for his role in an on-court fight and seven games in 2009 in response to a guilty plea in a reckless driving incident. He was also suspended for three games by the Nuggets in 2007 for his role in an incident at a Denver nightclub.
In addition, Smith drew a $5,000 fine from the NBA for flopping during the 2013 playoffs and a $25,000 fine in 2012 for posting an inappropriate photograph of a woman to his Twitter account.
Smith, 28, is averaging 10.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season after taking home the Sixth Man of the Year award last season.