Andre Miller’s headed for the curb and J.R. Smith may be next.
Miller, the Nuggets’ veteran point guard, has played his last game for Denver after reportedly cursing out Coach Brian Shaw last week, TNT’s David Aldridge reported during Thursday’s matchup with the Thunder.
Miller, averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 assists in 13.8 minutes, was upset after not playing in a 114-102 loss to the 76ers, the first "Did not play — coach’s decision" of Miller’s 15-year career.
Miller was a favorite of former coach George Karl, who was ousted after winning a franchise-best 57 games last season only to be bounced from the first round of the playoffs for a fourth straight time. But the transition from Karl’s up-tempo style to the system Shaw wants to run hasn’t been all that smooth, and the Nuggets reportedly are trying to trade Miller, who’s making $5 million this year and a non-guaranteed $4.6 million next year.
Smith, the Knicks’ tempermental sixth man, also sat Thursday against the Heat. He’s in Coach Mike Woodson’s doghouse after he untied Mavericks forward Shawn Marion‘s shoe while they stood next to each other during a free throw attempt Sunday, then tried to do the same thing to Detroit’s Greg Monroe on Tuesday.
Woodson had said before Tuesday’s game that Smith shouldn’t be doing things like that, and the NBA slapped Smith with a $50,000 fine.
"I’ve always said I don’t condone things that I know you shouldn’t do and no, I’m not happy about this, because again, he was warned, he comes back and he makes the same mistake and it’s not right," Woodson said Wednesday during a radio interview with ESPN New York.
"I’m going to address it tomorrow when he comes in here for work, because it’s unacceptable, I mean it really is. I mean, it’s unprofessional. That’s the only word I can use, or two words. It’s just, you can’t do that. You just cannot do that."
On Thursday the benching did the speaking for him. Smith often stood far away from the huddle during timeouts, but his teammates sure didn’t miss him on the court, beating the Heat 102-92.
Woodson wouldn’t comment after the game, but no Knicks player, not even Smith, seemed to know he wouldn’t play.
”I didn’t know anything about it,” Smith said. ”I expected to do the same thing I always do. I did my same routine, and it didn’t happen.”
Now Smith is unsure of his future in New York, despite the fact he signed a three-year deal for almost $18 million before the season.
J.R. Smith on whether he has a future in New York: "Honestly I don't even know. At one point I was for sure and now…it's rocking the boat"
But Smith was suspended without pay for the first five games of the season, costing him about $253,000 of his $5.6 million salary, after violating terms of the league’s anti-drug program. He was then fined $25,000 in November for using hostile and inappropriate language toward the Pistons‘ Brandon Jennings on his Twitter account.
Plus, Smith is shooting under 35 percent from the field and averaging 11.3 points, a drop of about seven per game from last season.