LeBron wants to be clear: Knicks comment 'definitely' was a shot at Phil Jackson

Late on Saturday night, LeBron James ruffled a lot of feathers.

After the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron said that the Mavs' rookie point guard, Dennis Smith, who finished with 21 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the game, "should have been a Knick." He added, "Dallas got a good one."

This led to a number of Knicks defending their rookie point guard, Frank Ntilikina, in the media. Conveniently enough, LeBron and the Cavs are in New York on Monday to take on the Knicks, and ahead of shootaround, LeBron clarified that he meant no disrespect to the young Frenchman. 

Instead, The King made it clear his comments were "definitely" a shot at Phil Jackson.

LeBron's full comments on the situation:

"I just think that his athleticism, his playmaking ability. I've been knowing the kid since he was 14 years old. I know what he's capable of. I wasn't throwing shade at Frank at all. People got their pants in bunches. They look for any controversy here. I was basically stating what I saw in Dennis Smith. And what I saw from him, and him coming out, and watching the draft, and thought he'd be a great fit here with Porzingis. That's not to say Frank won't be a great fit. I haven't seen much of him. I knew about him from my best friend who I went to high school with, who actually played with him overseas the last couple years. 

"It's the same, I mean, I think Deshaun Watson should be a Brown. Doesn't mean that Myles Garrett is not gonna be a great football player, but Deshaun Watson should have been our quarterback. It's the same thing. It's not shitting on the next guy. It's just that you're stating what you see. It's all that is, for clarification for people who just live in a box, and Enes Kanter, who's always got something to say. He says... I don't know what's wrong with him.

"Oh yeah, it's definitely a shot at [Phil Jackson]. That's for sure. 

"Well when I was watching the draft, I thought they was gonna pick [Smith]. I talked about it with people that know the game, I know what Dennis Smith is capable of doing. I knew the Knicks have been looking for a point guard. I mean, am I stating things that false? No? This is facts, right? I thought they would pick [Smith], and they didn't. Like I said, it's no shade at Frank. I don't even know the kid. I wasn't even thinking about the kid when I was talking about Dennis Smith. I was just thinking about the Knicks organization, and Phil Jackson, and Dennis Smith's talent, and Porzingis. That's all I was thinking about."


That was an all-time pre-shoot-around media performance from "The King." Calling out Phil Jackson, throwing in metaphors about the Cleveland Browns, taking sideswipes at Enes Kanter, that was incredible. 

This, of course, is not the first time that LeBron has been critical of Jackson. About this time last year, in fact, he said he "lost respect" for Jackson after the long-time coach and executive described LeBron and his business associates as "posse."

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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