Despite the early exit in the second round, sixth man of the year J.R. Smith has a reason to smile today. The spark off the bench for the New York Knicks is expected to opt out of the last year in his contract in order to re-sign with the New York Knicks for a long-term contract.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, J.R. Smith is expected to re-sign with the New York Knicks on a four-year deal starting at $5 million.
Five million is far less than most sixth men of the year command. However, with the Knicks severely over the luxury cap, Smith was willing to take a major pay-cut in order to remain in his beloved city of New York.
Smith recently told the New York Daily News,
I want to retire a Knick. I don’t want to go anywhere else. I love my teammates, I love my coaches. I was standing in the locker room looking at my jersey after the game and just knowing that I don’t want to be anywhere else except in the orange and blue. We’ll see.
You can critique J.R. Smith’s game all you want, especially after his abysmal shooting performance in the second round of the playoffs, but the one thing that you cannot critique is his love for the New York Knicks.
There is no question that J.R. Smith could have commanded more money from another team, but Smith chose to restructure his contract in order to help the only team he wants to ever play for—the New York Knicks.
Perhaps some of his overpaid teammates can learn from his example if they are truly serious about winning a championship in the Big Apple.