By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Author
NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James says his perception that the Knicks ought to have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t meant to slight Frank Ntilikina, although it was meant as a swipe at Phil Jackson.
“Oh yeah, it was undoubtedly a shot at him,” James stated Monday. “That’s for positive.”
James stated Saturday after enjoying in Dallas that Smith must be a Knick. New York took Ntilikina with the No. eight decide within the June draft, one spot earlier than the Mavericks chosen Smith.
James stated he’s recognized Smith because the former North Carolina State level guard was thirteen or 14 years previous and that that they had educated collectively. He is aware of solely just a little about Ntilikina, a youngster from France who had performed abroad with one in every of James’ associates from Ohio.
Final offseason, Jackson had stated the Knicks wanted some extent guard, both by means of the draft or free company, and James figured they might do no higher than taking Smith to play with Kristaps Porzingis. He in contrast his feedback to his ideas that the Cleveland Browns ought to have drafted quarterback Deshaun Watson with the No. 1 decide, saying that doesn’t imply Myles Garrett gained’t develop into a prime defensive participant.
“Like I stated, it’s no shade at Frank. I don’t even know the child,” James stated on the Cavaliers’ shootaround earlier than their recreation towards the Knicks. “I wasn’t even fascinated with the child once I was speaking about Dennis Smith. I used to be fascinated by the Knicks group and Phil Jackson on the time and Dennis Smith’s expertise and Porzingis.”
Jackson chosen Ntilikina, however that was about the very last thing he did as group president, as he and the group parted methods on the finish of June. He had angered James throughout his three years operating the Knicks when he referred to James’ pals and enterprise companions as a “posse.”
“I’m not a Phil Jackson fan, I feel you guys already know that,” James stated. “That’s the previous. He’s not even right here anymore.”
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