NEW YORK -- J.R. Smith thinks it’s “crazy” that Knicks president Phil Jackson would discuss issues about Smith's personal life publicly.
Over the summer, Jackson said in an interview with Charley Rosen that Smith was having “issues with his gal” toward the end of his Knicks tenure.
"It was crazy to me because I try to leave my personal life on the side and when somebody sits there, sits behind a desk and tells you to open up on what’s going on with you, you’re thinking that’s going to be between the two of y'all,” Smith said in an interview with ESPN.com on Friday morning. “So, for me, it tells me something I already knew. But to come from someone like Phil, it's just, it’s crazy. It makes you not want to tell anybody anything [that has] anything to do with your business. It was tough, but that’s how he handles stuff, that’s how he does it."
Jackson dealt Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland last January in a three-team trade that essentially pulled the plug on the 2014-15 season for the Knicks. New York finished with a franchise-low 17 wins last season.
In his series looking back on the season with ESPN.com, Jackson said Smith had broken team rules before the trade.
"J.R. had been exhibiting some delinquent behavior and had gotten into the habit of coming late to team meetings, or missing them altogether," Jackson told Rosen.
Jackson met with Smith to discuss his transgressions.
"We talked about his statement to the press that our shooting guard depth was going to be the team's asset, but so far it hadn't worked out that way," Jackson said to Rosen. "He was supposed to carry the scoring load for the second unit and he wasn't doing the job. I also said that because of his unacceptable behavior, he had two strikes against him with this team. He didn't really respond. He's a very sensitive guy, with his big doe eyes. He looked like he was going to tear up. But he finally responded that he was going through some issues with his gal."
Smith was asked on Friday if he thought Jackson’s disclosure of a private conversation would be questioned by others in the NBA.
“I’ve talked to a few people and they don’t understand why he did it, but I definitely won’t have that conversation with anybody else after that. So it just stuck with me. It’s all right,” Smith said.
Smith and Shumpert helped the Cavs reach the NBA Finals last season. Smith is averaging 5.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in five games this season.
His four-season tenure in New York included a Sixth Man Award in 2012-13 and multiple fines and a suspension handed down by the NBA.
“There were ups and downs, to be expected, but I had more ups than I had downs when I was here, I think,” he said. “I’m just glad I was able to play here. A lot of people can’t play here, under the lights, under the pressure. I’m just glad I was one of those few who was able to.”
Smith added that Knicks fans should be “patient” with the rebuild and credited owner James Dolan, who is "dedicated" to winning.
“They’re in a tough situation right now and it won’t be long before they get out of it,” he said. “They have an owner who is dedicated and wants to win. They have the pieces; it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”
Impressed by Porzingis: Add Smith to the growing number of players and coaches impressed by Kristaps Porzingis.
“He’s better than I thought,” Smith said. “He’s tall as s--- too. I thought he was like a stiff or something … but when I [saw] him come to the Q it was like, ‘He could be something special. He could be the next Dirk.’ It’s just a matter of his work ethic, he’s still young. But if Dirk ever decides to take someone under his wing, and he takes him, he’s going to be a problem.”