As is typical around this time of year for LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar recently made headline-worthy comments, this time about the New York Knicks. Following their dramatic 111-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, James was asked about Dallas’ stand out rookie Dennis Smith Jr. James responded by saying that Smith Jr. should be a Knick instead of a Maverick. Following from Fox Sports Ohio:
LeBron on Dennis Smith Jr.
"He should be a Knick…Dallas got a good one." pic.twitter.com/DOwfHGRWNG
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) November 12, 2017
Since those eyebrow-raising comments, we’ve seen multiple headlines just as James predicted and the reactions have been varied. What James was citing in his comments was the most recent NBA draft in which the Knicks passed on Dennis Smith Jr. with the 8th overall pick for French guard Frank Ntilikina. Smith Jr. was then selected with the following pick by the Dallas Mavericks.
Even with the increasing hype surrounding Smith Jr., Ntilikina’s teammates have his back. Big men Enes Kanter and Kristaps Porzingis had different ways of letting the world and LeBron know that they are more than satisfied with what they have right now in Ntilikina:
#Knicks Krisptaps Porzingis on #Cavs LeBron James comment that Knix should've taken DSmith over FNtilikina: "I don't know why he made those comments. All I can say is we love Frank…I would not change Frank for anybody. Simple."
— Fred Kerber (@FredKerber) November 12, 2017
We love what we got…
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) November 12, 2017
All in all, these were some pretty pointless comments from James. If it doesn’t concern you or your team, there’s not much reason to speak on another franchise’s business and it’s good to see that Kanter and Porzingis have their point guard’s back.
Following a recent Cavs’ shootaround, however, James switched the target of his comments, saying his remarks about the Knicks and Dennis Smith Jr. were actually directed towards Phil Jackson and not Ntilikina. Video courtesy of ESPN:
Based on the reactions and the criticism he has received for his comments, it seems as if LeBron James didn’t expect his opinion to make waves like this. But when you’re the best player alive speaking on another marquee franchise like the Knicks, it isn’t hard to see the intrigue.