Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James clarified his earlier statement about New York Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina, saying it was meant to criticize former Knicks president Phil Jackson and not to throw shade at Ntilikina. Earlier, James said the Knicks should have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. at No. 8 instead of Ntilikina. Smith was taken by the Dallas Mavericks at No. 9. According to Ian Begley of ESPN, James said the statement was not a direct shot to Jackson and not Ntilikina. “Oh yeah it's definitely a shot at him," James said, referring to Jackson.

During his stint as Knicks president, Jackson referred to James’ friends and advisors as “posse”, which offended the Cavaliers superstar, saying the word carries racial connotations. The Knicks fired Jackson in June after three tumultuous years of running the team. During his tenure, Jackson drafted Kristaps Porzingis and scouted Ntilikina, a known young defender and playmaker. James made the clarification ahead of their clash with the Knicks Tuesday. The Knicks (7-5) have a better record than the Cavaliers, who carry a 6-7 mark. It was earlier reported that James might bolt the Cavaliers for the Knicks in 2018.

James criticizes Enes Kanter

James also criticized Knicks center Enes Kanter for reacting negatively to his earlier statement.

“For Enes Kanter who always got something to say, who says – I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” said James. Earlier, Kanter defended Ntilikina from James’ statement, saying “I cannot just let James disrespect Ntilikina like that.” Kanter added that the rookie is doing an unbelievable job and working really hard. In 12 games this season, Smith is averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 assists per game in 28.8 minutes of playing time.

Ntilikina, for his part, is averaging 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 10 games with the Knicks.

James praises Lonzo Ball for triple-double

James congratulated Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball for topping his record as the youngest player to tally a triple-double in the NBA. According to James, if Lonzo keeps on working on his game, he will be a great point guard in the NBA.

“I think he's going to be a really, really good point guard in our league, probably a great point guard if he continues to work on his craft,” said James, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Ball was 20 years and 15 days when he tallied 19 points, 13 assists and 12 boards in their loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday. James was 20 years and 20 days old when he recorded his first triple-double during the 2004-05 season.