NEW YORK Allan Houston ended his comeback attempt with the New York Knicks on Saturday, saving Isiah Thomas from possibly having to cut one of the top scorers in franchise history.
Houston rejoined his former team late last week, two years after he was forced to retire because of chronic knee pain. However, the Knicks already had the maximum 15 players under contract, and Thomas said he only gave the 36-year-old guard an invite to camp because of his history in New York.
Houston's chances were even slimmer because he didn't join the team until 10 days after practices began. He cited the timing issue in his decision to walk away again.
"While my body and my knees, in particular, feel fine, I know what is required for me to be truly effective in the NBA again, and it involves a timing and progression that would not be fair to Isiah and the Knicks right now," Houston said in a statement released by the Knicks.
"With the season opening less than two weeks away, I think it is best for the team to move on without me. I appreciate the opportunity that Isiah and the Knicks have given me, and I wish the team nothing but success."
Houston played only six minutes in his lone preseason appearance Wednesday at Boston, then sat out a game at New Jersey the next night.
Houston spent nine seasons with the Knicks and is fourth on the team's career scoring list. He said upon his return that he didn't think he would try to latch on with another team if he didn't stick with the Knicks.
NUGGETS SUSPEND J.R. SMITH: Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith was suspended for the first three games of the regular season "for conduct detrimental to the team."
Nuggets player personnel director Mark Warkentien declined on Saturday to specify Smith's transgression.
"I take full responsibility for my actions that led to this suspension," Smith said in an apology distributed by the team. "I realize that the organization wants to help me become not only a better player, but also the best person I can off the court.
"I apologize to my teammates, the coaching staff, my family and Nuggets fans. I promise to learn from this situation and look forward to returning shortly and being the best teammate I possibly can."
Smith served a 10-game suspension last year for his role in a fight with the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden and was injured in a car crash last summer in New Jersey that killed his friend, Andre Bell, 21.
Smith, who drew coach George Karl's ire last year for firing up long jumpshots in the playoffs, will miss Denver's opener Oct. 31 against Seattle, as well as games at Minnesota on Nov. 2 and home against New Orleans on Nov. 4.