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J.R. Smith confirms he is close to deal with Knicks

Feb 16, 2012, 7:03 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets - Game Three Getty Images

UPDATE 7:03 pm: Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld spoke with J.R. Smith himself and tweeted this:

I just spoke to J.R. Smith. He confirmed that he’s nearing a deal with the New York Knicks.

This echoes what we have been hearing all day, that it is just a matter of hammering out the contract details and Smith will be a Knick. The question for Mike D’Antoni is do you start him or keep Landry Fields as the starter and make Smith a deadly sixth man?

2:17 pm: This comes out of the New York media, so it should be consumed with a few grains of salt. That said, this is the outcome we all have been expecting.

J.R. Smith has chosen the Knicks and is close to a deal with them, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

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.

This deal is not finalized, but it is close. And it is a great pickup for the Knicks, who beat out the Clippers (and Chris Paul‘s recruiting efforts) for Smith’s services as he returns from a season in China.

The Knicks were considered the favorite because they could plug him into the starting lineup and give him big minutes — plus they could give him more money. It’s always about the money. New York can offer a pro-rated share of their $2.5 million mini-midlevel exception, plus they can give him a player option for a second year at that price. The best the Clippers can offer is the pro-rated share of the veteran’s minimum for only this season.

If and when Smith signs on the dotted line, Linsanity will have the ultimate test and opportunity. Anthony and Smith are unrepentant gunners who can fill it up but need to follow Jeremy Lin’s lead, stay within the offense and pick their spots. Run in transition, move off the ball, don’t just wait for a chance to go iso. With a starting five that includes Amare Stoudemire, ‘Melo, Smith and Tyson Chandler around Lin, the Knicks look like the third best team in the East. If D’Antoni and Lin can keep their gunners in line.

  1. exministries - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Cut bibby now!

  2. passerby23 - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    I would leave Fields in the starting lineup and have Smith be the offense coming off the bench. You don’t need a lineup of scorers, you need balance and chemistry. The Knicks have gone from an experiment-gone-bad team to a sudden force to be reckoned with. This is the kind of matchup that could bother the Heat in the playoffs – a team that can score, an attacking point guard, quality bigs up front, and depth. Can they defend is the question.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Good idea, if he buys in.

      • leearmon - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Well he did come off the bench in Denver, and bought in to the tune of a 514 eFG%. Pretty impressive.

    • starks3 - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      I agree Looking at the bench lineup when at full strength,
      1.B Davis
      2.JR Smith/Fields
      3.Billy Skywalker

      I would say that is a legit lineup, and I would agree Smith would be better served coming off of the bench for now at least to he gets in the groove of the offense.

      • jasonkenlan - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:31 PM

        replace balkman with a healthy harrellson and that imo is a solid bench. of course we need to part ways with bibby before the end of this sente—….

      • passerby23 - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM

        Balkman’s gone and you forgot Shumpert.

  3. Tetaun - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Cut Mike Bibby today!

  4. Amadeus - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    When Anthony and Lin team up, they can call it Melo Yelo

    • thevikes85 - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Racist p.o.s.

    • goforthanddie - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:49 PM

      Screw PC, that’s funny.

  5. 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    There goes the chemistry Lin just built up!

    • spree8 - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      nah, Smith aint that big of a deal to be a chemistry changer. although, I do think he’s gonna be a great piece for the second unit and we desperately need that. That is a big deal 😉

  6. cantonbound13 - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:28 PM


  7. plum13sec - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    They have gone from seeming laughing stock to the place free agents want to go. I love it.

  8. goforthanddie - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    They’ll have to ban Smith’s family from the games or they’ll try to fight Lin.

  9. keyshawn22 - Feb 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Why would the Knicks when they finally have something going bring in a guy that shoots more bad shots than pretty much anyone???

    Melo, Amare, Lin, Chandler, Shumpert, Fields, Walker, jefferies and Novak is a solid core…bringing a me first chucker into the mix is not a good idea. Who’s minutes do you want him taking? Plus Baron is supposed to come back at some point thats another guy who is going to take minutes from that core. Only Dolan could screw up a good thing so fast

    • makjak2 - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM

      Being too deep is a good problem to have.

    • passerby23 - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      The good thing about a deep team is if you don’t buy into what’s working, you will find a cosy spot at the end of the bench. I think Melo and Smith see what’s going on with Lin and don’t want to mess that up – even if only for the reason of being unpopular. Besides that, you want to use Smith as a score-first player on a second unit, not as a first unit chucker trying to steal shots from others.

    • marcusfitzhugh - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      Dolan is blamed for everything. If someone stubs their toe –DOLAN. If you can’t make eye contact with a hottie at the bar – DOLAN. Traffic jam – DOLAN. PC virus – DOLAN. Cat died – DOLAN. Your boss/wife/neighbor is a jerk – DOLAN.

      Same for D’Antoni. When the Knicks are losing, he’s the problem. When they put a streak together, he’s still the problem. Gotta cut Billups? It’s because D’Antoni can’t coach. Baron’s back is bad? D’Antoni can’t coach. Baron FINALLY going to join the lineup? D’Antoni can’t coach. World hunger? D’Antoni can’t coach.

  10. garryfish - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Could anyone think that maybe Baron is not coming back and he is the one being cut.

  11. knicks4life - Feb 16, 2012 at 8:43 PM

    Cut melo and sign him to. The angles

  12. stadix093 - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Don’t know if it will work out well, but if it doesn’t, the failure will be on a spectacular level.

  13. premiumpit - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    I think it can work if they cut bibby…I dont think he has hit one shot all year…Maybe two years…but i just hope this dont take time away from shumpert…

  14. mrlitl - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    @Amadeus That’s kinda racist, but funny.

  15. chrisppers - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    JR’s a bandwagon sellout all about $ and popularity, w/o question he would have had a better chance to at least make it to the finals and possibly get a ring with LAC, now he has to go through Miami and/or Chicago. Guess he really care about winning.

  16. cantonbound13 - Feb 16, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Funny how they said a year ago so many quality player will take less money to play with the Heat Big 3. All they have to show for it is an old Juwaan Howard, a done Ilgauskis, a fat Eddie Curry & a done Shane Battier.

    • 00maltliquor - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      Probably because the positions they need (C and PG) are the positions that are not avalible with good talent. They are 2 deep at SG, SF, and PF. Even at PG they have Chalmers and Cole. I don’t think their looking for anything other then center right now. And who’s left in the FA pool at that position? Joel Pryzbilla. Just sayin’…

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        You must be a typical Heat fan that just started following the NBA last year. Here’s a list of big men & pgs that were available via free agency or trade: Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalenbert, Kenyon Martin, Lamar Odom, Marc Gasol, Chris Kaman, Kris Humphries, Nene, Raymond Felton & David West. That’s just a few good players that were available this year. None were willing to take less money to play with the Heat or demand to be traded there.

      • passerby23 - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        @ cantonbound
        I’m not a Heat fan and I agree with the above comment. Chandler, Gasol, Humphries, Nene, and David West all commanded a lot more money than the Heat could’ve paid them. West and Humphries are also PFs, not centres. Kaman and Odom were still under contract. Kenyon Martin was still in China and he’s also not a centre. Dalembert is the one player I would grant you they had a shot at, but again, he could get paid more elsewhere which is what he did.

        There were slim pickings for talented big men available. They may not need them. I think the Knicks and Bulls are two teams with good bigs who could give them a run.

      • 00maltliquor - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:55 PM

        @ cantonbound

        Heat fan, nooooo sir! I’ve been following the NBA since the mid-80’s so your 0 for 2.
        I would go off on you since you seem like an easy target with very low bball knowledge but I’ll just let you slide this one time.

  17. rft1906 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    This is too much. Lin PG, Fields G (defense), Melo, Amare, Chandler..
    Bench: Shumpert 2G (defense),Novak 3 or 4, Jefferies 4-5, Walker SF,
    nine man rotation enough…find a big or another PG because we learned what a difference that makes…

  18. rft1906 - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    I hear Stephon Marbury is almost done in China tooo…..That would be another dumb move Dolan…..

  19. jruethedamaja - Feb 16, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Eighth best team in the east. FTFY.

  20. bknowledge - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    Knicks Starting Line-up should be:


    Its argueably the best starting 5 in the league.
    JR shoots almost 40% from the 3 (JR’s range is infinite, and his percentage would probably go up in Knicks offense because he would be getting open shots created by an offensive system designed to generate open 3’s- rather then freelancing- which has been his role off bench in Denver).

    I know the Knicks won’t make this their starting line-up right away- maybe never. Melo is a bigger star and more talented overall. But, the Knicks offense is going to suffer with Melo in the starting line-up. Melo only shoots 32% from the 3- he doesn’t open up the floor for dribble penetration the way JR will. And, Melo and Amare are both high volume shooters from the elbow. Teams are gonna clog the paint when Melo, Amare, and Tyson are on the court together- this will make dribble penetration harder, and eliminate cutting lanes that are essential to Landry’s game.

    Knicks have won 7 games straight by keeping 3 deep shooters on the floor at all times- guys that shoot 40% from 20 feet and out. Neither Amare, nor Melo, nor Tyson has that skill. Knicks should trade Melo or Amare. Melo is a dominant player but not for the offensive system the Knicks have in place; Amare fits the offensive system we have in place. For that reason, I would trade Melo.

    D’Antoni’s offense is a version of the outside-in game. D’Antoni has never had a center like Tyson- as the past seven games prove, D’Antoni’s offense can work with a center like Tyson on the court. There have been NBA champions that play outside-in (both Detroit championship teams- played from the outside-in).

    • theghostofwillisreed - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      i stopped reading after the lineup.

      stop the nonsense. melo is a cornerstone of the franchise along with stat whether the trade-haters like it or not. get over it.

      • passerby23 - Feb 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        Agreed. Melo is never coming off the bench.


        Smith, Douglas, Shumpert, Jeffries, Walker, and Baron if he ever comes back as the bench.

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