On Monday, LeBron James and the New York Knicks continued a war of words after Lebron James criticized the draft decisions of the Knicks.
On Saturday, James praised Dennis Smith Jr., the Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard and the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft, stating that the Knicks “passed on a really good one.” The New York Knicks had the eighth pick in the draft and chose Frank Ntilikina, a point guard.
James said that Smith, Jr. “should be a Knick.”
The following day, various Knicks players came to defend the 19-year-old Ntilikina. One of those being none stronger than Enes Kanter, a center.
“This is my rookie. This is my team. This is my organization. I cannot just let him disrespect him like that,” said Kanter.
“I don’t care. It doesn’t matter if it’s LeBron or whoever it is, I cannot just let him disrespect him like that because the coaches, the GMs, the president, this organization knows what they’re doing. So that’s why I was kind of pissed that he said that, because, I mean, come on, man. That’s a rookie. You cannot just say anything like that about him.”
Kristaps Porzingis also came of Ntilikina’s defense, stating: “I don’t know why [James] made those comments. But all I can say is we love Frank. We’re happy with him. He’s doing a great job. He’s playing great and he’s doing what he’s supposed to. I would not change Frank for anybody. ”
On Monday, before the matchup of the Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, James took offense to criticisms that were directed his way.
“I wasn’t throwing shade at Frank at all,” said James. “For people that got their pants in bunches and that nature here in New York. They look for any controversy here.”
James continued, saying that his praise for Smith was not a shot at Ntilkina, comparing it to the quarterback situation of the Cleveland Browns.
“That’s not saying that Frank won’t be a great fit. I haven’t watched much of him,” said James. He added: “I mean, I think DeShaun Watson should be a Brown. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Myles Garrett isn’t going to be a great football player.” Lebron James said that the Knicks have been in search for point guards, and he felt that Smith would help them.
He then took a jab at Kanter, stating: “That’s all that is, for clarification of people who just live in the box, and for Enes Kanter who always got something to say … I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
James did make it clear that his comments were intended as a shot at Phil Jackson, the former Knicks president (who chose Ntilikina). James had declared his dislike for Jackson before after Jackson mentioned James and his business associates as a “posse” during the past season.
“Oh yeah, it’s definitely a shot at [Jackson]. That’s for sure … I’m not a fan of Phil Jackson. I think you guys already know that. Let’s not, that’s the past though.”