New York Knicks: 3 Affordable Replacements for J.R. Smith
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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.
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The tale of Brandon Roy is quite sad.
After years of playing top-tier ball, the former sixth overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft was forced to retire due to the immense disintegration in his knees. The Portland Trail Blazers would later use their amnesty clause to open up future cap space.
Roy, though, has decided to make a comeback and resume his already impressive career. The 6'6" shooting guard has received numerous offers from organizations, including the Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and the Chicago Bulls.
The New York Knicks, however, have not expressed interest in the former perennial All-Star. The team should enter the Roy sweepstakes before he is signed. Not only would he come at a cheap price, but a signing would be the definition of low risk, high reward deal.
Roy was once considered one of the blossoming young stars in the Association. The former Washington star could score in numerous ways allowing him to average nearly 19 points for his career. The athletic swingman could penetrate the rim with ease and knock down the open jumper efficiently.
His position and talent started a rivalry with Kobe Bryant to hold the title of best shooting guard in the Western Conference.
The Knicks could dangle the veteran's minimum in front of him to see if he bites. Of course, he will receive more money in a different city, but probably not a better opportunity. In New York, he will be playing on a top-tier roster that won't need him to do any heavy lifting.
The one question is will Roy's knees hold up for a full season and, possibly, a deep playoff run?
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With Deron Williams returning to Brooklyn and the departure of Jason Terry to the Boston Celtics, the Dallas Mavericks are interested in bringing back combo guard Delonte West. However, nothing is imminent and the Knicks have the opportunity to steal the veteran.
The former Cavalier played well in his minor role during his brief tenure in Dallas. West averaged nearly 10 points per night in last season's campaign.
This offseason, though, West desires a multi-year contract after playing the last two seasons on one-year contracts. Additionally, West, who is only 28 years old, won't command too much money. The New York Knicks could offer him an enticing offer and, in return, West could bolster a weak backcourt.
His ability to play both guard positions will surely be welcomed in New York, as there are many questions surrounding those two positions. The addition of West could pay huge dividends down the stretch. The team just needs to convince him to sign a favorable deal.
"Looking for a team to pay me what I'm worth, not a cent more," West said.
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Unlike the other two possibilities, Randy Foye has expressed interest in signing with the New York Knicks, according to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com. Not only is he intrigued with the opportunity to play for the fans in Madison Square Garden, but he ranks the team atop his preferred destination list.
Foye, who had a productive season with the Los Angeles Clippers, eyes their mid-level exception of $3 million. But, the Foye option is even more appealing for the Knicks.
His skill set will perfectly blend in with New York's play style. In a fast-paced system with spells of Carmelo Anthony isolations, spot-up shooters will always be welcomed in the rotation. Just look at the revitalization of Steve Novak's career.
Foye averaged 11 points and two assists per contest in the starting lineup. While he will likely be seeing his role relegated to coming off the bench in New York, Foye's contributions will surely be noticed.
Sure, Foye is not a great defender, but Iman Shumpert will be assigned the difficult task of guarding the opposing team's best guard. Shumpert will certainly be back for next year's playoffs after his devastating knee injury.
So not only is Foye cheap and eager to play in New York, but his intangibles will help Knicks fans forget about last year's sixth man J.R. Smith.