J.R. Smith will almost certainly opt out of his contract this off-season no matter what happens, short of an NBA Championship. The Knicks can offer him a 4 year 24 million dollar deal, based on the CBA, but will this be enough or will J.R. take the money and run to the highest bidder?
Here are some of the franchises:
Atlanta: The Hawks are a proud franchise, but with little fan base. Still a good team to play for, but they have some FA’s of their own who might be priorities first. Might be in the hunt for D-12 first.
Sacramento: Sac-Town is too far for J.R. and their instability is a red flag for a losing environment.
Charlotte: Every year MJ hires and fires a coach; one of the worst teams in the league. Not a chance.
Dallas: A possible destination. Great owner, Dirk has some years left in him and a great fan base. Strong possibility. Might be in the hunt for D-12 first.
Cleveland: The re-hiring of Mike Brown and the collection of valuable players makes Cleveland a possibility.
Detroit: Joe Dumars has made some dubious personal and coaching decisions. I can’t see J.R. saying yes to this.
Houston: Houston is a strong candidate. Lin, Harden, Asik and Parsons make’s this team one of the front-runners. Might be in the hunt for D-12 first.
Indiana: Strong defensive team, well coached and a strong fan base with major playoff potential. Strong possibility.
Milwaukee: Not the ideal spot for Smith. Lousy weather and a revolving door of players make this team a “no go”.
Minnesota: Strong core of Rubio, Love and rotational players. Will the freezing temps keep him away from Minny?
New Orleans: NOLA is an enigma. They already have Eric Gordon at the 2, but are looking to move him. Anthony Davis is the building block. Not a likely destination.
Philadelphia: Philly has potential to sign Smith. He would still be very close to his family, as well as a great fan base and potential to be a good team. All depends on the Bynum situation.
Phoenix: Total rebuild is under way and way too far for J.R. to be from home. No possibility of signing there.
Portland: Rip City is a great atmosphere and has playoff potential with players like Lillard, Aldridge and Batum. Adding J.R. to this team would be a major bonus. Strong possibility.
Utah: The Jazz are too far off the radar for J.R. to sign with them.
Washington: the Wiz are another organization that I can see Smith saying yes to. They have a young core of Wall and Beal in the back court, so that might persuade him to look elsewhere.
In Summary, The 76ers, Blazers, Rockets, Mavericks, Hawks, and Pacers are possibilities that J.R. could consider. 6 teams could steal J.R. from the Knicks, who would love to and need to keep for any chance of a championship run the next few years. J.R. has the opportunity to move on to one of these teams with more money in his pocket, as well as higher expectations, or he could stay with what he knows, the Atlantic Division Champs, the NY Knicks. Smith can stay in the Big Apple and play with Tyson, Melo and Coach Mike Woodson, who has taken him under his wing and made him a better player and man in the same breath.
J.R. Smith has a tough decision to make this summer: 1) Money and a new team and the unknown 2) Less money and a possible championship run with his family by his side.
Peter A – Knickswag