SAN ANTONIO, TX - J.R. Smith and the New York Knicks are currently on a three game losing streak after falling to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday evening in San Antonio.
For Smith, it was only his eighth game as a Knick, as Smith recently signed with the Knicks after playing in China during the NBA lockout. When Smith agreed to play in China, he agreed to play there until Chinese regulators permitted him to return to the United States to rejoin the NBA.
As word drew closer that Smith was getting ready to make his way back to the NBA, many teams began calling to inquire about Smith’s presence on their team. Some of those reported teams where the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, and San Antonio Spurs.
Smith would go on to sign with the Knicks, but I wanted to find out if there was any truth to the Spurs rumor. So, before Wednesdays Spurs-Knicks game, I asked Smith about the Spurs as an option during free agency, how he’s transitioned in becoming a Knick, and whether he was able to keep up to date with the NBA when in China.
Paul: Were the Spurs really a team on your list when you were in free agency out of China?
Smith: “Definitely, I’m a big fan of Coach Pop, I’m a big fan of the organization, so the Spurs were definitely on my list.”
You've only played seven games with the Knicks, how has the transition been for you?
“It’s been up and down. The first game I played well, (but) I’m not really shooting the ball that well right now. (I’m) just trying to make up for it on the other end, defensively. Right now it’s a little bit inconsistent. I’m trying to get consistent with it.”
Have you kept up with the Spurs lately?
“Only from what we’ve seen today, in film session really, we talk about it. I haven’t really been up to par on too many teams other than ours.”
“It’s been difficult, the China situation, you can’t really watch that many games over there, so I didn’t get to keep up with as many teams as I would (have) liked to.”
As the Knicks are now 18-21, and the Spurs sit second in the Western conference, it might make Smith wonder if he may have made the wrong decision.