J.R. Smith involved in altercation

Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith shoots before the start of the first round playoffs game two at the Pepsi Center on April 19, 2010 in Denver. Denver leads the series 1-0.  UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

Fanhouse has the details:

“We did have a report of an altercation that took place at the Denver Nuggets’ practice facility,” Detective John White of the Denver Police Department told FanHouse by phone. “That case was investigated and ultimately presented to the district attorney’s office. … Ultimately, the district attorney’s office, after being presented with the findings by the Denver Police Department, decided not to pursue charges.

According to White, the player — who sources said lives in the Denver area and played previously with the now defunct Colorado 14ers of the NBA D-League — is “not a member of the National Basketball Association.”

According to a league source who spoke with one of the people in the gym, numerous players were taking part in drills when members of the Nuggets’ coaching staff told the player who later called police to be physical with Smith.

“They were just wanting the guy to be physical with J.R., telling the other guys, ‘Hey, body up on the guys and really make them work,'” the source said. “J.R. just lost it. He tried to choke the kid, and the kid called the cops.”

Smith has a reputation for being something of a nutjob and this isn’t going to help matters. He is an extremely talented player, especially offensively, but he has always had trouble staying on task.

The incident occurred on August 13, which might explain the trade rumors that surfaced shortly thereafter.

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Carmelo Anthony collapses and no one seems to care

Strange scene in Oklahoma City the other night. Carmelo Anthony knocks his head on Kevin Durant and collapses, and play goes on. Take a look:

Why would the refs put the ball in play with a player laid out on the floor? Why wouldn’t the Denver coaching staff yell and scream for a timeout? Why in the world is J.R. Smith trying to score when his teammate is prone on the court? Several people dropped the ball in this situation.

Here is what Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin had to say about it:

“I couldn’t believe J.R. would try to go for the layup,” said Chauncey Billups, who was on the bench at the time. “I was like, ‘Dude, are you serious? Call timeout, man, you see the dude ain’t move. What in the world are you thinking about?'”

Martin veered toward the positive, pointing out how Anthony was able to return and help the Nuggets to an important victory over the Thunder.

“It says a lot about Melo to be laying out like that and come back in and hit two clutch free throws,” Martin said.

He was asked, doesn’t the play say a lot about J.R. Smith?

“Yeah, whatever,” Martin said.

The NBA: Where Caring Happens.

Nuggets’ Smith makes good with former lawyer

In 2006, J.R. Smith broke someone’s jaw during a pick-up basketball game in Houston. Charges were filed and Smith hired Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin, known for representing Roger Clemens’ in his case involving Brian McNamee. After Smith’s case, Hardin claimed he never received $22,753.51 in legal fees. Well, Smith decided to pay him just before things got ugly.

From NBA.com:

Dale Jefferson, Hardin’s attorney, had threatened to serve Smith with legal papers before Wednesday’s game at the Toyota Center. Smith paid a chunk of the fees less than two hours before tipoff, prompting Hardin to call off the process server. Smith has 30 days to pay the rest.

“Mr. Smith has owned up to his obligations, and agreed to pay them in full,” Jefferson said, before he and Hardin settled into front-row seats. “When he does that, we will dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice. It has not been accomplished yet, but he did make a good-faith wire transfer prior to the start of the game.”

The 24-year-old Smith called the dispute “a miscommunication.” He said before the game that he wasn’t aware that the bills had not been paid and had to “talk to my financial people about that.”

Jefferson set a 6 p.m. deadline for Smith to start paying the fees, and Smith’s wire transfer on Wednesday was received with eight minutes to spare.

“It was like a 3-pointer at the buzzer,” Jefferson said.

I know professional athletes in general aren’t the smartest of people, but NBA players seem to find themselves in the stupidest situations. I have a feeling Smith just forgot that he owed Hardin the cash. If not, then he would have done this earlier in his career when his team was visiting Houston. Nevertheless, given Hardin’s profession, I’m surprised it took him this long to act. It’s not like Smith doesn’t have the money.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

J.R. Smith falls asleep

In all my years of playing and watching basketball, I have never seen a player do this…

2009 NBA Preview: 10 Breakout Candidates

What constitutes a “breakout” season? To me, it’s a talented player who has been in the league at least one year who is about to see a big increase in minutes. Here is a list of 10 players (in no particular order) who I think will have career seasons in 2009-10.

1. Tyrus Thomas, Bulls
The 23 year-old is entering his fourth season and will probably be the Bulls’ starter at power forward. He averaged 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 27.5 minutes last season, and an increase in minutes would enhance those numbers. Now that he has an effective mid-range jump shot, he can use that and his athleticism to get to the basket.

2. Anthony Randolph, Warriors
Randolph is a popular breakout pick this season after a great summer league and flashes of brilliance in his rookie year. He only played about 18 minutes per game last season, and is playing almost 28 minutes in the preseason, starting every game in which he’s appeared. Don Nelson may not start him during the regular season since he’s been battling some injuries, but expect him to get plenty of run this year.

3. Anthony Morrow, Warriors
Let’s stay in Oakland, shall we? Not to read too much into preseason stats, but through eight games, the second-year Morrow is averaging 22.0 points on 58% shooting (52% from 3PT). He’s going to come off the bench, but that might not last for long if Stephen Jackson eventually gets traded. Morrow is one of the league’s best shooters, nailing almost 47% of his threes a year ago.

4. Aaron Brooks, Rockets
With Yao Ming out and Tracy McGrady hobbled, the Rockets don’t have a whole lot of offensive options and Brooks is one of the best shooters the team has. He averaged 11.2 points in 25 minutes per game last season. If he gets 32-35 minutes per game, he should average somewhere in the 14-16 ppg range.

5. Louis Williams, 76ers
He’s a very different player than Andre Miller, the guy he’s being asked to replace. He isn’t going to drop a lot of dimes, but the guy can score, and if he gets starter’s minutes his averages are going to jump. In the preseason, he’s averaging 14.9 ppg in 27 minutes of PT.

6. Courtney Lee / Chris Douglas-Roberts, Nets
I’m listing them both because it’s not clear which will be the Nets’ starting shooting guard on opening day. It may not matter because the other might be the starting small forward. In the preseason, CDM and Lee are averaging 18.5 ppg and 17.0 ppg, respectively. While Devin Harris and Brook Lopez are likely to lead the Nets in scoring, Lee and Douglas-Roberts could both average 12-14 ppg.

7. J.R. Smith, Nuggets
Smith has already had a breakout year (in his first season with the Nuggets), but the departure of Dahntay Jones gives Smith the chance to start. George Karl started Jones last season because of his commitment to defense, so it’s just as likely that he finds another defensive-oriented off guard to fill that vacated role. Smith has the talent to start, but can he keep his head on straight and play enough defense to keep Karl happy? (By the way, he’s suspended for the first seven games.)

8. Channing Frye, Suns
After a nice rookie season (12p/6r) in New York, Frye wasn’t as good in his second season and landed in Portland where he didn’t get much run. Now he’s the starting center in Phoenix and is averaging 12.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 26.8 minutes of playing time. The Suns are awfully thin on the front line, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Frye ends up playing 30-35 minutes a game.

9. Julian Wright, Hornets
While he isn’t shooting particularly well (41%) in the preseason, it appears that Byron Scott has finally given up on Peja Stojakovic and is ready to hand over the keys to Wright, who has started all six preseason games in which he has appeared. He’s a great athlete and versatile player, but the big mystery with Wright is his three-point shooting. He hit 10-24 attempts in his rookie season, but just 2-21 in his second year. The Hornets need shooters for Chris Paul to pass to, so if Wright doesn’t start knocking down shots, Scott might go back to Peja.

10. Hakim Warrick, Bucks
Warrick is leading the Bucks in preseason scoring with 14.4 ppg. He’ll battle with Luc Mbah a Moute, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova and Joe Alexander for minutes. Scott Skiles will likely start Mbah a Moute at one forward spot because he’s a great defender, but the other is up for grabs. Regardless, Warrick should get plenty of minutes and is on a one-year contract, so he’s very motivated.

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