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Report: Chris Paul leading Clippers J.R. Smith recruitment

Feb 13, 2012, 8:07 AM EDT

Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Bobcats Getty Images

J.R. Smith is expected back in the United States this week an NBA free agent. His team in China has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the season ends this week.

And the Clippers want him. Badly. Especially now that their starting two guard is gone for the season.

The Clippers are not alone in coveting Smith — the Knicks are considered the frontrunners, the Lakers and others are in the mix — which is why Chris Paul has become the Clippers lead recruiter, reports Ramona Shelburne of

The Clippers were interested in Smith even before the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups last week, believing they could use more offensive firepower off the bench. That was going to be a harder sell to Smith, who is looking for a larger role. Now, they can offer Smith the opportunity to start.

Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source. The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets.

If you want a connection, Kenyon Martin (and Chauncey Billups) have the same agent as Smith.

But it may come down to money. Which is good for New York.

The Knicks can offer $2.5 million (their mini mid-level) and he would get most of that (it is pro-rated from only Feb. 10). The Clippers can only offer a veteran’s minimum deal that is pro-rated from the start of the season. The Knicks also have room for a starting two guard so he gets his run.

But CP3 is trying. And unlike the Knicks, the Clippers are a threat to make it to the finals. Just depends on what Smith wants.

  1. cakemixa - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Too bad he never cared enough to “recruit” players when he played in New Orleans.

  2. rwmilli - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Love how you already rule the Knicks out…somebody isn’t a melo fan..

  3. allball23 - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    after they got their pg. Lin lin lin they can be considered a potential threat to make the finals. J. R can come to the 5 seconds or less offense and be great.

  4. drobstad - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Funny… The Giants weren’t a threat to make the playoffs either right? Knicks win 5 straight without Stat & Melo and now they have a legit PG to run the offense… Heat will be in the finals… besides that, nothing is decided in the weak Eastern conference (especially with Rose’s health up in the air). Bad writing Kurt Helin.

  5. tcclark - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    It would put probably the two best in-game dunkers on the same team. If you thought the Clippers were fun to watch before, watch this

  6. Justin - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Lakers and Timberwolves may also be in for his services( Minnesota doesn’t have to offer him a prorated salary because they have cap room unlike the rest of the teams mentioned. Plus he could also get a long term deal with them as well. I guess it depends on if he is looking for one year success or for longer financial security. Time will tell.

    • Justin - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      oops wrong link. Here it is

  7. oside760 - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    I’m praying that the Clips get JR

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