JR Smith has a Charlie Kelly-esque conspiracy theory that he wants to get out there.
In an interview this week with Complex Sports, the ex-Cleveland Cavaliers swingman Smith said that he believes he has been blackballed by the NBA.
“A hundred percent [I feel like I was blackballed],” said Smith. “Anybody can sit here and tell you that’s a fact. You got those 30 [NBA] teams. [Take] the top three people on each [of the] 30 team[s] and exclude them. Give me the fourth through 15th man. Just the four through 15. Name one of them that’s better than me.
“I’m sitting here like, bro, like I’ve worked out with these dudes,” he added. “I’ve watched their GM come up to me and ask me, like, ‘Why are you not playing?’ You know why I’m not playing.”
Smith also said he believes other ex-NBA players like Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Nick Young, and Isaiah Thomas have been similarly blackballed.
Here are Smith’s full comments on the matter.
J.R. Smith says he, Jamal Crawford, Isaiah Thomas, Nick Young and Joe Johnson have been blackballed from the NBA.
Link below for full #ComplexVolume story and interview with J.R. Smith.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 2, 2022
Obviously, there are a couple of holes in Smith’s logic here. Johnson (with the Boston Celtics) and Thomas (with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Charlotte Hornets) were actually on NBA rosters last season. While none of the aforementioned players are currently signed, there are some very good reasons for that — they are all old (the players Smith named range in age from 33 to 42), inefficient, one-dimensional scorers, and couldn’t stay in front of a Roomba on defense these days.
Those guys might still be absolute menaces on the pickup court or in pro-am games. But they probably don’t cut it in the NBA any more, Smith included.
As for Smith’s point about four to 15, Norman Powell (LA Clippers), Robert Williams (Boston Celtics), Scottie Barnes (Toronto Raptors), Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns), and Jonas Valanciunas (New Orleans Pelicans) are just a few examples of players who might not be one of the three best on their respective teams. But all are indisputably better than Smith right now.
Smith, who is about to turn 37 himself, had a nice 16-year run in the NBA. He also won a Sixth Man of the Year Award and two championships for his troubles. Eventually, the juice just runs out. Still, Smith is not the only player who believes he is currently being blackballed by the league.
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