New York Knicks: J.R Smith Opts Out, Streaky Shooter Not Worth Long-Term Deal

Matt DienstagContributor IIIJune 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 17: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks call a timeout during the game against Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden on April 17, 2012 in New York City. 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 Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Even if it is just a minimal increase in pay, is J.R Smith really worth the three-to-four-year headache?

According to New York Times beat writer Howard Beck, J.R Smith will opt out of his current two-year deal and become an unrestricted free agent, but fully intends on re-signing with the Knicks on a long-term basis.


Lots of questions re Smith. He qualifies as non-Bird, which means he can get 20% raise and multiyear. Won't need MLE.

— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT)

If Smith follows through with this plan, it helps the Knicks in the short term, but severely hinders them in the long term.

Smith's erratic behavior off the court is a mirror image of his abilities on the court. He is such an unpredictable character, you never know if or when he will embarrass himself or his team.

This is a guy that produces more bulletin-board material through Twitter than imaginable, half of which is controversial, the other half pure ignorance. Smith was able to touch on both sides of the spectrum when just weeks into his Knicks career, he tweeted a picture bedside of some one-night stand's half-naked body.

This is a guy that will ignore his teammates in order to make a play happen for himself. He never met a shot he didn't like and frequently over-dribbles the basketball until the opposing team takes it away for two points the other way.


This is a guy who is suing his former Chinese team in hopes of recouping $1 million over a dispute that he missed 80 practices over his one season in China. Perhaps Smith wins the case on a technicality, but is it even remotely possible that his Chinese team could make up the fact that Smith missed nearly every practice?

Is this really the type of character the Knicks want to keep long term on their roster?

While Smith has the ability to shoot the lights out, it doesn't happen nearly frequent enough to be worth a multi-year deal. If anything, Smith's value decreased at the conclusion of the last season.

Smith's value to the Knicks was the hope that he would opt in to his deal on the cheap for one more season. But now that he has opted out, regardless of how small the pay increase would be, assuring that Smith would be a Knick for the next three to four years would be a mistake.