J.R. Smith: Why Chicago Bulls Must Win Sweepstakes for Smith's Services

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IIFebruary 13, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, J.R. Smith's team in China missed the playoffs so he will be able to sign with an NBA team as early as Wednesday February 15.

Both the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks have been listed as the favorites to sign him, but I think it is the Chicago Bulls who need him the most.

The Bulls would be able to offer him their biannual exception, which is worth around $1.9 million.

Rip Hamilton, who the Bulls signed to be the starting shooting guard, has played in only 11 of the team's first 30 games. Reports are he could be out at least another week or two. He is currently not even with the team due to family matters, so who really knows when he might be ready to return?

Without Hamilton the Bulls have been short-handed. They have been starting Ronnie Brewer, which leaves the bench thin with Kyle Korver as the main backup for Brewer and Luol Deng.

The Bulls could use someone like Smith right now with Derrick Rose banged up. Rose has already missed time this season with a toe injury and now he is having issues with his back. 

Smith has the ability to create his own shot, which is something most of the Bulls roster is unable to do. Also, he had stated during the lockout on his Twitter account how much he would like to play in Chicago alongside Rose.

He would provide great insurance in case Hamilton is not fully healthy for the rest of the season and if Hamilton is, then Smith would provide another great weapon to use off the bench. Coming off the bench is a role Smith is very comfortable with since he has only started 129 of his 503 NBA games.

Maybe he is that final piece to help push the Bulls past the Miami Heat.

For his career, Smith has averaged 12.5 points, two assists, 2.2 rebounds while shooting 37.1 percent from three-point land and 42.8 percent overall from the field.

While he may get more money with the Knicks and have former teammates with them (Carmelo Anthony) and the Clippers (Kenyon Martin), if he wants to win a championship this season he would be smart to sign in Chicago.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @dachicagofan, and check out my weekly Bulls podcast every Wednesday on my site The MG Experience.