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
While that may sound like good news to some Knicks fans, this is something that New York general manager Glen Grunwald needs to reconsider doing.
Smith is eligible to re-sign with the Knicks for a 20 percent raise, but at anything more than that it could prove to be a big mistake.
While he may be nice coming off the New York bench, the Big Apple is not a good fit for Smith. Not at the cost of using a portion of their mid-level exception to sign him. There are many other pressing needs that mid-level exception must be used for, and that's a veteran point guard and additional frontcourt depth.
Using any of that on Smith could jeopardize filling those more important needs.
Should the Knicks sign J.R. Smith?
Smith has the reputation of a lights out shooter and while he got hot at times for the Knicks in 2012, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Smith averaged 12.5 points per game on 40 percent shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the regular season. But Smith struggled big time in New York's first-round loss to Miami, shooting 11-for-48 in the final three games of the series.
In addition, Smith made only 34.7 percent of his attempts from behind the arc on the season and for a player that likes to shoot the three-ball as much as Smith does, the Knicks would be better off spending the money on a guy that can knock down shots more consistently.
In only one of his eight NBA seasons has Smith shot better than 40 percent from long-range (2008 with Denver).
Even worse is the fact that Smith has been known for bad decision making and poor shot selection. He showed that repeatedly towards the end of last season.
Smith has the ability to shoot the Knicks out of as many games as he helps them win.
Plus there's the fact that the Knicks have enough players who need the ball in their hands.
When Smith and Carmelo Anthony are on the floor together, the ball stops moving altogether. Whoever gets it first is likely to hold it and shoot it. That's not a recipe for winning games.
While there are some things that Smith does well, he's just not great option chemistry-wise.
The goal in New York should be to win championships and paying big money to the likes of Smith while ignoring other needs just isn't going to get it done.
If it will take any portion of the mid-level exception to sign Smith, then it's a bad move for Grunwald.
When you don't have much money to spend, you simply can't afford to make bad decisions and that's what this could turn out to be.