In his first go-around as a high-ranking Garden executive, Mills failed to manage the deteriorating workplace dynamic between two people he hired, Isiah Thomas and Anucha Browne Sanders, who would successfully sue her employers for sexual harassment. If Mills has imposed his front-office will on Smith in recent weeks, wow, he's done a hell of a job disguising it.
Carmelo Anthony could flex his considerable in-house muscles here, too, and the league source said Smith's pattern of behavior "says as much about Anthony's lack of leadership as anything else. A coach needs cooperation from his team when something gets in the way of winning, as this clearly has."
If Melo has been too supportive of Smith in his public comments, he's only following his organization's lead. The Knicks gave a three-year contract to a guy who needs to be kept on one-year deals, and now, as they say in the business, they can't stop him, they can only hope to contain him.
The Knicks are trying to play the victim here, but they're the ones who created the J.R. Smith they now confront. In the end, they have a better chance of beating Miami or Indiana in seven than they do of ever getting this run-amok player back in line.