For a moment there it looked like Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith would be someone else’s headache to deal with.
May 7, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) drives to the net past Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) during the second half in game two of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks win 105-79. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
So that means all the controversy, immature behavior, bad shot selection and selfish play will be back for multiple years.
It’s not known exactly the length or amount of Smith’s deal, but Isola noted that the proposed deal from the Knicks is for four years and worth around $24 million.
The Knicks held Smith’s Early Bird Rights, so that is about as high as they could go.
Hours earlier it looked like it would be very difficult for the Knicks to keep Smith as he had bigger offers on the table from teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, who emerged as the front runner for Smith until they turned their attention to O.J. Mayo.
You would think that at a little under $6 million a season that it would be a good value for a guy who won Sixth Man of the Year a season ago. Right?
Maybe, but consider this fact.
Smith averaged 18 points, five rebounds, and three assists last season on 42 percent shooting, with a 17.6 PER, which are all decent numbers.
But from Dec. 1 through March 15, he shot just 39.5 percent. Then in the playoffs, Smith shot a miserable 33 percent, with 157 points on 163 shots.
You can’t win with player such as Smith who are not efficient and won’t change the way they approach the game on and off the floor.
When Smith did attempt to change his game- the last 20 regular season games of the 2102-13 season- we never saw a better Smith. But when it mattered the most he went back to being a gunner and a below average one at that.
Knicks head coach Mike Woodson must find a way to reel Smith in, which may be impossible. But Woodson and Smith have a good relationship and Smith was the guy they wanted, so I sure hope they know what they are doing. But history would suggest that you can’t win with a guy like Smith and there is a reason why he has had limited playoff success in his career.
However it is not in the bag just yet, even though it looks like the Knicks and Smith are close to a deal.
Earl Smith, J.R.’s father, told several reporters, including ESPN’s Ian Begley, that they have a “couple” offers on the table, and that nothing will be signed until Friday. The Smiths are hoping for a better offer, and none of the ones on the table have bowled them over.
In addition Isola also noted that the Knicks had talked to Smith about a two-year package (worth roughly $11.5 million). After the two years are up, Smith could then re-sign with the Knicks with full Bird rights and get a maximum contract.
That alone is insane thinking by the Knicks.
It’s simply a case of overvaluing a player. Smith is nowhere near a max-type player but I guess the Knicks will be stuck with him for the foreseeable future to find out.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.