J.R. Smith hasn't been a New York Knick for long but he's still made a big name for himself. He showed up after playing in China during the NBA lockout and instantly became the shooter off the bench the Knicks were looking for. Despite not shooting well, he was clearly one of the more talented players on the Knicks roster. Instead of making $2.5 million with the Knicks next season he's chosen to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
J.R. Smith has been called enigmatic and selfish. While he actually proved to be a good teammate who could mash well with superstars and reserve players alike, Smith did struggle with his shooting as a Knick. However, the Knicks may still have interest in bringing Smith back.
Even though he made the mini mid level exception last season, Smith is eligible to re-sign with the Knicks for a 20% raise and multiple years. The mid level exception would not be necessary to re-sign Smith. He had been expected to opt out and it appears he will do so despite his love for New York.
Howard Beck of the New York Times reports via his Twitter account that Smith will opt out but is looking to re-sign with the Knicks for a long term deal.
JR Smith will decline Knicks option but intends to re-sign for longer term w/NY, source says. Story posting soon.
After the players won the Bird Rights decision, the Knicks have more money to spend on free agents. It's possible that some of that money could be headed Smith's way. While Smith is a controversial shooting guard, to say the least, he's a very talented one who proved he can play defense as well.
Besides controversial, Smith is polarizing. There are bound to be some fans who say the Knicks have no choice but to re-sign him. At the same time, there will be some fans who say good riddance and hope the Knicks move on. What they do is anyone's guess but there is little doubt that there will be plenty of teams in the market for Smith's services.
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