Knicks Want Smith Despite Playoff Struggles
J.R. Smith will not pick up his $2.9-million option for the 2013-14 season, a person close to the valuable reserve said. But it doesn’t mean Smith won’t be back with the Knicks.
The deadline for Smith to inform the Knicks whether he will opt in is Tuesday. The Knicks weren’t expecting Smith to opt in after putting up career highs of 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds and winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award this past season. Smith struggled in the playoffs, but the Knicks’ plan is to try to keep him. Smith is close with coach Mike Woodson. The two recently golfed together, according to multiple sources.
The Knicks can re-sign Smith using the “Early” Bird Exception. The most they could give him is the average NBA salary, starting at roughly $5 million for at least two years. Of course, the Knicks could lose Smith if another team offers him more money and a chance to be its starting shooting guard and focal point of the offense. That might be something Smith wouldn’t want to pass up, especially after being a reserve for most of his nine-year career.