LeBron: Smith comments a shot at Phil Jackson, not Ntilikina

New York took Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick in the June draft, one spot before the Mavericks selected Smith.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts to a call to referee Haywoode Workman (66) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) reacts to a call to referee Haywoode Workman (66) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

NEW YORK (AP) – LeBron James says his belief that the Knicks should have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t meant to slight Frank Ntilikina, though it was intended as a swipe at Phil Jackson.

James says, “Oh yeah, it was definitely a shot at him.”

James said Saturday after playing in Dallas that Smith should be a Knick. New York took Ntilikina with the No. 8 pick in the June draft, one spot before the Mavericks selected Smith.

James said he’s known Smith since the former North Carolina State point guard was 13 or 14. He knows only a little about Ntilikina, a teenager from France who had played overseas.

Last offseason, Jackson had said the Knicks needed a point guard, either through the draft or free agency. James figured they could do no better than taking Smith to play with Kristaps Porzingis.

Jackson selected Ntilikina. That was about the last thing he did as team president. He and the organization parted ways later that month.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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