Veteran guard J.R. Smith has opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks in hopes of securing a better deal. While their stance appears to be to re-sign Smith, the New York brass should do the exact opposite.
According to Howard Beck of the New York Times:
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
Smith can get a 20 percent pay increase from the Knicks by going this route. That sounds like a lot of money until you realize just how little Smith is paid already.
According to Al Iannazzone of Newsday, the Knicks can offer Smith just $2.9 million annually beginning next season. For a guy that made $2.4 million this past year, that seems like a very small and pointless move.
But I guess it is a half a million dollars, and I’m certainly not saying I’d turn my nose up at that. However, the money really isn’t the issue. The issue is whether or not the Knicks should re-sign Smith.
Well, that all depends on what the Knicks are trying to build moving forward. Are they trying to build a defensive team built around stars Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, or are they building yet another freakshow of overpaid losers?
J.R. Smith seems to be a great addition to a team when you only glance over the guy. Last season, he averaged 12.5 points per game while coming off the bench. He’s also just 26 years old, still with plenty of time to improve.
Seems like a great guy to have on your squad. Now here’s the truth.
Smith is a gunslinger, which can be a good thing, but most NBA teams usually only want one of those on their team. The Knicks already have a superstar gunslinger in Carmelo Anthony.
Smith also makes terrible decisions, takes terrible shots and plays terrible defense. And, just so you know, by “terrible” defense, I mean no defense. It isn’t that the guy can’t guard anybody; it is simply that he doesn’t. That’s infinitely worse, because it means that he isn’t trying at all. Instead of playing hard against his man, he takes gambles because he is too lazy to work at it.
The sad thing is that Smith has the physical tools to be a great player in this league. Notice, I used the word great. Smith is 6’6”, weighs 220 pounds, can leap out of the gym and has killer range on his jumpshot. He’s got all the potential in the world, but his attitude will keep him from reaching it.
He’s been in the league for seven years now, and, even with all that talent, has never been more than a good bench guy. With those skills, Smith should at least be a starter on a team and a perennial one at that.
Smith likes to score, and that’s about it. But even that he doesn’t do efficiently. He shot 46 percent in one season, and that appears to be because he played only 19 minutes per game. Last season, he shot 40.7 percent from the field (lowest in five years) and just 70.9 percent from the free throw line (lowest since his rookie year).
The truth is that Smith cannot contribute to a winner, especially not to New York. His bad attitude isn’t going to help him or this team, and the Knicks don’t have a locker room culture established that can squash his negativity.
The Knicks have their offense in Anthony and Stoudemire. They need defense to help out Tyson Chandler, not guys like Smith who throw up shots every time they touch the ball.
Knicks fans, make it known to your team’s executives that Smith should be let go. Unless you want the same old Knicks, who overpay for spoiled players who score points but don’t win.