J.R. Smith for Jason Thompson
On the surface you would say who the heck is going to ever trade for a guy like J.R. Smith? But we all know that there is a team out there that will make a trade to acquire the unpredictable Smith. If only the Knicks could trade to themselves, because we all know that the Knicks are usually on the other end of this deal; taking on bad contracts and bad players. However, this time the Knicks would be shipping Smith in a box with a bright red bow to the Sacramento Kings who are looking to shed salary and clutter over the next couple of years to become competitive. This would be a contract move not a move based on talent. This move would allow the Kings to become more salary cap flexible by reducing the salary on their books by one year.
Jason Thompson has 3 more years on his deal at 6+ a year, which does not expire until the 2017 season. Jason is a serviceable player playing his entire career with the Kings at the PF/C position. He can bang on the block, hit the mid-range jumper, and is an all around NBA veteran who would love the chance to finally play for a winner. Coming out of a Rider College Thompson had all the tools. He quickly made a name for himself in the NBA with his size and athletic ability, however he has not gotten over the hump and been a true winner on this level.
The Kings have DeMarcus Cousins and they just traded for Derrick Williams. Carl Landry, who has been out for the entire year, has a similar deal as Thompson. So with a crowded frontcourt and many years to pay Thompson, it is possible that the Kings could take J.R.’s contract that has 2 years remaining after this year and save themselves 6+ million in the 16/17 season.
Say what you want about J.R. Smith but when his head is screwed on tight he can ball. Sliding him into the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas, allowing high draft choice Ben McLemore to develop at his own pace, J.R. could land himself into a perfect position: A small city far far away from NYC and all the troubles it brings, not to say that he can’t find trouble elsewhere, but you catch my drift.
Is this deal likely? Probably not this minute, and it is also possible that the Knicks would have to take on Travis Outlaw’s contract in exchange for some spare parts like MWP or Beno, but this is a call I would make. You could also flip the name of Thompson for Carl Landry who has a similar contract as well and has not started his Kings career off well with injuries.
One thing I would not do however is trade any first round picks in order to get Smith off this team. In that case I would rather just release Smith and eat the contract using the stretch provision. The Knicks must STOP mortgaging their future for past mistakes.