Monday, February 20th, 2012

J.R. Smith close to signing with Knicks?

Published on February 16, 2012 by Scott Shirley   ·   No Comments

Former Denver Nuggets player J.R. Smith is doing playing in China and now he is a free agent and can go anywhere. Smith’s Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association lost in the playoffs this week. As of yesterday it appeared Smith was down to two teams the Los Angeles Clippers and the New York Knicks. Well, today it appears one of those teams has emerged as the front runner to get Smith.

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News Smith has chosen the Knicks and is close to working out a deal with them.

Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, met with Garden Chairman James Dolan following Wednesday’s Knicks’ win over Sacramento to finalize a contract. It is believed that Smith, who has also attracted the interest of the Clippers, will receive the Knicks’ $2.5 million exception. Rose also represents Carmelo Anthony, who has lobbied the club to add Smith, an explosive scorer who can also be erratic at times. He has averaged 12.5 points per game over seven NBA seasons.

Again this deal is not done yet, but it appears it can be finalized any minute. This is big for the Knicks who beat out the Clippers and Chris Paul’s recruiting pitch to get Smith. The Knicks have won 7 in a row and are now 15-15 on the season. Things are only going up for the Knicks with Jeremy Lin.

Last season with the Nuggets Smith averaged 12.3 points per game just the year before he averaged 15.4 points per game. There is no doubt Smith likes to shoot last season he made about 1.5 threes per game while shooting about 40 %. He is also very athletic around the rim. So you can see why Smith is a wanted man.

Smith would likely come in and not start right away but maybe four of five games in you could see him in the starting lineup. He will battle Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert for playing time. Both Fields and Shumpert are having pretty good season’s so far but Smith just has more upside. Shumpert may in the future but Smith is the better player now.

Another question is how well Smith fit in with Lin and Carmelo Anthony. Smith played with Anthony in Denver. Both Smith and Anthony are gunners you will have to wonder how this will affect the game of Lin. However make no mistake about it Smith will help the Knicks make that playoff push.

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