Wednesday, June 27, 2012

J.R. Smith Declines Player Option

Today J.R. Smith declined his player option in his contract with the New York Knicks, making him a free agent on July 1st.

Smith is foregoing $2.4 million dollars he would have made if he picked up his option to become a free agent.  Smith is eligible to for a 20% pay raise, meaning he can sign for as much as four years and $12.2 million with a team.  Another option, according to the New York Times, is to re-sign with the Knicks for a one year with the Early Bird rights, putting him on track to make at least $5.3 million in the 2013-2014 season. 

Smith’s father, Earl, told that he was going to make a strong push for his son to stay in New York and play for the Knicks.  That may not be a plausible option for Smith though, as his father does concede that, “it’s very clear that the money is the biggest factor with him.”

Smith joined the Knicks this past season in mid-February to a prorated $2.5 million contract after returning from China.

Smith struggled at times with the Knicks, averaging 12.5 points per game on 40% shooting with 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game in the regular season.  His playoff numbers were below average, struggling with his shot as he went 11-48 in the last three games of the series against the Miami Heat.

I for one am in favor of the Knicks trying to bring Smith back into the fold.  At times he was erratic with his shot selection, but he is not afraid of the big moment and seemed to be tamed by Mike Woodson.  Smith has the talent to be a top player in the NBA; it is just a matter of a coaching staff getting the effort out of him for it to shine through.

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