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When Mike Woodson benched J.R. Smith during the Knicks game against the Heat last Thursday night, it appeared as though he did it in order to try and send a message to Smith. Smith had just been fined $50,000 by the NBA for untying a couple of players' shoelaces during games. So the thought was that Woodson was punishing Smith by keeping him on the bench for a game. But Smith playing significant minutes in the Knicks' games against the 76ers and Suns in the days following that game, so it looked like he was out of Woodson's doghouse.
Now, though, Smith might be back in it—and he's not sure why. Last night, Woodson didn't play Smith for a single second in the Knicks' loss to the Bobcats. And while Woodson refused to comment on it after the game—"I just didn't play him tonight," he said, "I didn't play him"—the benching didn't seem to sit well with Smith.
"I stopped being surprised after the Miami game," he said. "I haven't the slightest clue [what's going on]…If I'm not helping the team, there's no point in me being here."
Uh-oh. Does that mean that Smith has actually come around to the idea of the Knicks trading him? Not quite. He stills wants to remain with the Knicks.
"I'm not even worried about that," he said in reference to the recent trade rumors surrounding him. "I'm trying to fix what's going on here."
But he's obviously not going to be able to do that from the bench. So it'll be interesting to see what happens in the coming days. Smith's benching could be a sign of things to come.
[via New York Daily News]