Knicks: 5 best free agent signings since 2000

JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Head coach Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks talks with J.R. Smith #8 during a game against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden on December 6, 2013 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Magic 121-83. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

1. Knicks best free agent signings since 2000: J.R. Smith

At long last, we arrive at the most exciting player on this list. The one who made us want to pull our hair out (if it wasn’t turned gray already), but also got us to rise up from our couches or seats with a fist pump after a breathtaking play. You never really knew what you would get out of J.R. Smith from game to game, half to half, quarter to quarter, or even play to play, but fans knew that he could provide a spark at a moment’s notice, which made him entertaining to follow.

While the earlier players on this list were all signed during the traditional summer free agency period, Smith (as only J.R. could), came to the Knicks in February of 2012, having played in China previously while the NBA was going through its lockout.

Smith already had extensive experience playing with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony from their days with the Denver Nuggets. Anthony was well aware of the special talent Smith possessed from an athletic standpoint from J.R’s early days in the league.

"“I’m like ‘yo, who is this?’ and then he went to New Orleans and I just see what was going on then I also was saying what we was dealing with in Denver like what we was missing. We needed that young explosive two-guard. J. R. came in and filled that role.” Carmelo Anthony via Essentially Sports and “The Old Man And the Three Podcast"

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In the 2012-2013 season, Smith put his ego aside for the good of the team, coming off the bench to average 18.1 points per game. That sacrifice and production was good enough to secure the NBA’s Sixth Man of The Year award for that season.