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Knicks fans love J.R. Smith, but he likely bolts this summer

Apr 19, 2012, 11:51 AM EST

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith attempts to dunk the ball in their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in New York Reuters

When he is raining down threes like he did against Boston, it’s easy to love J.R. Smith’s game. So today, Knicks fans love him. He brings an edge off the bench that fans and teammates love. Thing is, Smith is going to keep taking those shots whether they are falling or not, and some days his shot selection can make you squirm.

But if Knicks fans were planning on seeing him around next year, they are likely in for a shock.

Smith signed for the mini-midlevel exception of $2.5 million upon his return from China (where he played during the lockout), with a player option for next year. He didn’t have a lot of choices. Smith wants a longer-term deal however and will test the market this summer, reports Alex Kennedy at Hoopsworld.

This offseason, Smith will have many more options. He’s expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract and hopes to sign a multi-year deal this summer, according to sources close to the situation. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic are among the teams expected to express interest in Smith if he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

New York is a draw. Winning is a draw. But nothing is a draw like money and other teams may have more to offer Smith this summer.

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