LeBron James made waves after the Cavaliers win against the Mavericks, saying that Dennis Smith Jr. should have been drafted by the Knicks.
“The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough,” James said after his Cleveland Cavaliers’ 111-104 win Saturday night over the Mavericks. “He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. Dallas is definitely, I know they’re excited that he didn’t go there.”
This of course, led many to surmise that this was a shot at former Knicks President Phil Jackson, who LeBron has a famously contentious relationship.
Well, LeBron wasted little time on Monday confirming that he was indeed ripping the coaching legend yet again:
LeBron James, asked if his Dennis Smith Jr. comments were a shot at Phil Jackson: “Oh yeah it’s definitely a shot at him.” Said he didn’t mean it as a shot at Frank Ntilikina.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 13, 2017
It’s a little surprising to see James so heated at Phil still, especially since it seems like he got the last laugh with Phil being unceremoniously let go in New York. Still, James was likely never going to warm up to Phil given their past and Jackson’s treatment of LeBron’s good friend Carmelo Anthony.
For the Knicks part, they took exception to the comments, taking them as an attack on their point guard, Frank Ntilikina.
KP on LeBron: ‘I don’t know why he said that…I wouldn’t trade Frank for anybody ‘
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) November 12, 2017
Though LeBron says that his comments weren’t intended to be a slight towards Ntilikina, they obviously cast the French point guard in an unflattering light and his teammates were likely always going to take offense.
My guess is that LeBron won’t lose too much sleep over hurting a rookie’s feelings, and as always, the #PettyWars continue.