LeBron James: 'No Shade' Intended Towards Frank Ntilikina

Nov 11 2017 Dallas TX USA Cleveland Cavaliers forward Le Bron James talks to Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. as they walk up the court during the fourth quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Spor

Speaking to reporters at Madison Square Garden two days after he said NY goofed by not drafting Dennis Smith Jr., who plays for the Mavericks, James confirmed what many initially suspected: His comments were targeted at former Knicks president Phil Jackson, not Ntilikina. "I wasn't even thinking about the kid when I was talking about Dennis Smith".

"The Knicks passed on a really good one, and Dallas got the diamond in the rough", James said after his Cleveland Cavaliers beat Smith and the Mavericks on Saturday night. "I don't know why he made those comments".

The Knicks, meanwhile, opted for French floor general Frank Ntilikina over Smith at No. 8 overall. "It's the best for our league". "All I can say is we love Frank, we're happy with him", Porzingis said.

Coincidentally, King James and the Cavs travel to face NY at Madison Square Garden on Monday night and these latest comments by the four-time MVP may have added some extra spice to the contest. "This is facts. I thought they would pick [Smith] and they didn't".

In an interview with ESPN last November, Jackson referred to James' friends and business partners as his "posse".

"All I can say is a lot of people think what they want and it must not affect us so we just have to stay focused on what we're doing to improve". I have to prove to the team.

Smith has registered 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, compared to Ntilikina's 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists, but considering the Knicks' 7-5 record versus the Mavs' 2-12 mark and Ntilikina's superior 104.5 defensive rating (compared to Smith's 113.8), their rookie campaigns are somewhat comparable so far.

"I had nothing but respect for him as a coach for what he was able to do", James said at the time. "I'm just focused about the team, focused about us and we are just 100 percent motivated every game day ... so it's not affecting us".


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