J.R. Smith Will Reportedly Decline Knicks Option, Hopes to Re-Sign Long Term
J.R. Smith can be a mercurial talent, throwing down the dunk of the playoffs one moment and then missing his next 10 shots while forgetting the meaning of the word "pass." Now, it appears as though the New York Knicks are going to be riding the Smith roller coaster for another few years.
According to the New York Times' Howard Beck, Smith is declining his player option with the intent of signing a long-term deal with the Knicks:
JR Smith will decline Knicks option but intends to re-sign for longer term w/NY, source says. Story posting soon.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) June 25, 2012
And per Marc Berman and the New York Post, the Knicks are "confident" Smith will re-sign, "according to a source."
By opting out, Smith ups his earning potential by 20 percent, going from a player option of $2.4 million to a potential free agency contact worth $2.8 million. If he signs for four years, he could potentially see his salary increase by 4.5 percent each year and make $12.2 million over the time period.
Smith can also choose to re-sign for one year and qualify for "early Bird" rights, which would leave the talented but nerve-wracking shooting guard eligible for a $5.3-million salary in 2013-2014.
Seeing as he's a "non-Bird" free agent right now, he won't require the use of a midlevel exception unless he demands more than $2.8 million. Other teams could steal him away by offering him either that $5-million mid-level exception or using excess salary cap room to exceed the $2.8-million offer.
This is great financial news for a Knicks team that desperately needs scorers not named Carmelo Anthony and guards in general. Restricted free agents Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields are not guaranteed to re-sign with New York. Mike Bibby, Jared Jeffries, Baron Davis and Steve Novak are all unrestricted free agents.
That leaves Toney Douglas and Iman Shumpert as the only guards currently on the roster. Plus, the Knicks have no picks in the 2012 NBA draft until No. 48 of the second round. You can only do so much with that.
Whether Smith plays like Good J.R. or Bad J.R., at least the Knicks now have a player who can line up at shooting guard and hold down the fort.
When Smith plays with his head on his shoulders, he may not make the insane and crazy plays that he's known for, but he can at least make a positive impact. Smith will turn 27 before the start of the season, so he's still got plenty of years left in the tank.
After his brief foray in China—which seems to be resulting in a lawsuit—Smith returned and played 35 games in blue and orange, starting one contest and averaging 12.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Expect him to make a similar impact next year, if not a slightly bigger one.
Buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy, wild and fun ride.
Update at 1:56 PM ET on Thursday, June 26
ESPN's Jared Zwerling reports that J.R. Smith has officially decided not to opt in and will become a free agent:
It is in fact true: J.R. Smith has decided not to opt in (it's not an opt out, technically) & he will become a FA. Can still remain a Knick.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) June 26, 2012
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?