J.R. Smith is being pursued by several teams, but the last team he should be strongly considering is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Recently, Sam Amick of SportsIllustrated.com recently reported about Smith and Minnesota:
While the Clippers and Knicks are known to be two possible landing spots for the scorer, sources close to Smith have also said Minnesota is in the running. The Timberwolves (like the Knicks) can offer a prorated amount of their $2.5 million room exception while the Clippers could give him the veteran's minimum.
With the T'Wolves offering a prorated exception, and half the season gone, that is comparable to what the contenders like the Chicago Bulls, LA Clippers and Miami Heat can offer.
Take a look at the records of the teams that are interested in Smith:
New York 13-15
Los Angeles Clippers 17-9
Which one doesn't belong in this scenario?
If he doesn't stand to make more money, signing with a team that is currently not a contender makes no sense. Why would a veteran want to go to a team mid-season that may or not make the playoffs, when he has better options for a comparable salary?
It would be beyond me.
Which team should Smith sign with?
For Miami, Smith could offer much-needed scoring punch off the bench. Both teams represent almost certain long playoff runs.
Smith has played seven years in the NBA.
He spent the last five with Denver teams that made the playoffs. At this point in his career, signing with the T'Wolves would be a step backwards.
Don't get me wrong, the Wolves are an exciting, young team of the future, but Smith should be in a "now" mind set.
Ricky Rubio is having a nice rookie season and Kevin Love is arguably the best power forward in the league, but they aren't there yet. This seems to be a mismatch.
At 26, Smith also has to be considering his NBA future. He has been known as a malcontent, lazy defender and other undesirable traits for a basketball player. Making it known that his preference is to play for a winner would be a boost to his reputation.
It would be a sign that Smith's priorities are in the right place, and it increases the chances that a team will take another shot at him with a long-term deal in the off-season.
I'm not sure that will be said of him if he signs with Minny. The Wolves are not ready to contend, and Smith doesn't help them enough to change that.
He's better off signing with a team that he can have a more pivotal role with: one that puts the team, as well as him, in the best situation to succeed.