JR Smith won't be in Chicago Bulls plans for 2011-2012 season

Michael GibbonsCorrespondent IISeptember 14, 2011

DENVER, CO - APRIL 25:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls have a gaping hole at the shooting guard spot, but that is nothing new. Several names were mentioned at the trading deadline and many more were mentioned as possible free agent targets, but it looks like one name that was on both can be crossed off that list.

JR Smith has signed with Zhejiang of the China Basketball Association. He was negotiating with two different teams and decided to sign with Zhejiang over Shanxi. This means that Smith will be unable to return to the NBA until March because the China Basketball Association doesn’t allow players to opt-out for the NBA.

The deal is reportedly worth $3 million for one year which will be the richest ever signed in China.

Many fans felt it was a mistake when management shipped off JR Smith without ever letting him suit up in a Bulls uniform in 2006 and have clamored for him to return to Chicago ever since. There is no denying Smith could be a useful addition to Chicago’s backcourt as a 6’5 guard who can create his own shot as well as shoot from beyond the arc and provide a major upgrade over Keith Bogans.

I guess there is still a chance he could sign with the Bulls after his return from China, but I would not expect him to make much of an impact then as coach Thibs would most likely have his rotation pretty well set by then. I guess everyone can go back to talking about Jason Richardson, Vince Carter and Rip Hamilton now.