The New York Knicks have a multitude of decisions to make after a dismal playoff outing against the champion Miami Heat, including the future of shooting guard J.R. Smith. The former Denver Nuggets star came over from China in the middle of last season to sign with rejuvenated Knicks.
While his inaugural season in the "Big Apple" was respectable, as he averaged a shade over 12 points per night, the sixth man's inconsistent play and low shooting percentage, only 40 percent from the field, did leave much to be desired. However, the 6'6" shooting guard did admirably fill in his role considering he only played 35 games in the truncated season with the squad. With few pure scorers behind Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire on the roster, Smith was heavily relied on to provide a scoring punch off the bench.
But, is Smith the best option financially for the New York Knicks?
It is widely assumed that Smith will return to the Knicks. Even his brother Chris Smith, who will play on the Knicks' summer league roster after a successful tenure at Louisville, expects his sibling to re-sign with the club.
"He loves New York," Chris told ESPN New York. "He's looking for a great situation, and whatever suits him right, that's what he'll do. The main thing is him being happy; that's all that really matters. But if I had to put a guess on it, he'll be back in New York."
Smith, at 26 years old, will be looking for his last big payday, though. Considering that the team already owns a plethora of large contracts and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will not be too kind to the franchises over the luxury tax, the Knicks may stay clear of adding another deal.
Smith was a valuable asset to the Knicks down the stretch, but his time in New York may come to a close. Here are five replacements for the veteran.