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J.R. Smith, likely entering free agency, says he ‘wants to retire a Knick’

May 19, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

New York Knicks v Indiana Pacers - Game Six Getty Images

J.R. Smith had an incredible regular season for the Knicks, and was every bit deserving of the Sixth Man of the Year honor he was given for that performance.

He also was brutal in the postseason, struggling to find his shot ever since he was suspended for Game 4 in the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics.

Smith’s field goal percentage dropped from 42.2 to 33.1 from the regular season to the playoffs, and his three-point shooting went from 35.6 percent to 27.3. Because he couldn’t hit shots at the rate he was accustomed to, his scoring was down nearly four points per game in the postseason.

The Knicks couldn’t afford this much of a dip in production from someone who was relied upon all season long to turn in big shooting performances to support Carmelo Anthony offensively. There is plenty of blame to go around for New York’s elimination in Game 6 at the hands of the Pacers — head coach Mike Woodson’s questionable rotations, along with the disappearance of Tyson Chandler and ineffectiveness of Jason Kidd and Amar’e Stoudemire all played their parts.

Smith’s disappearance might have been the most glaring, though, considering how great he was in a sustained effort over the course of the season. And it couldn’t have helped his standing around the league as he’s likely to enter free agency this summer.

Smith has a player option for next season for just under $3 million, but is expected to opt out of that for a multi-year deal at a higher per-year salary. How much higher is the question, as the Knicks don’t have much in the way of cap space they can spend on Smith in free agency — even though he says he wants to play for New York until he retires.

From Peter Botte of the New York Daily News:

“I want to retire a Knick. I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Smith said. “I love my teammates, I love my coaches. I was standing in the locker room looking at my jersey after the game and just knowing that I don’t want to be anywhere else except in the orange and blue. We’ll see.”

Still, when asked if he’d be willing to take less money to remain in New York, Smith hedged and added, “I haven’t even thought about all that, that far. I still have to talk to (agent) Leon (Rose) and see where we’re at.”

If he means what he says, a lot of it will be up to Smith in terms of dollars he might be willing to leave on the table to stay in New York for the next few seasons, because he’s certain to get at least a couple of teams to offer him more than the Knicks can pay.

Interestingly enough, Smith may have unwittingly helped his cause to remain in New York by his poor postseason performance, which has to have lowered his value on the free agent market.

  1. kingbeason52 - May 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I dont think any team will throw the bank at him..He is to inconsistent..He probably stays in NY by default…

    • casualcommenter - May 19, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      JR Smith’s performance in the playoffs – particularly his historic shooting slump and reports of him partying at clubs during the week – are going to hurt his market value enormously.

      After winning 6th Man of the Year, a solid playoff performance could have gotten JR some $10+ million per year offers (despite his previous history of inconsistency). Now? It’s tough to feel good about offering him that much money guaranteed when he began acting unprofessionally even before his big payday.

      • fanofevilempire - May 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        thumbs down for non sense!

    • fanofevilempire - May 19, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      are you a NBA GM?

      • melkipershero - May 19, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        based on quite a few moves every year from NBA GMs I don’t doubt a normal person could do better.

    • spthegr8 - May 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Rihanna is gonna be his downfall!! She is like Poison Ivy from Batman and right now he is trapped under her UM-BRELLA…!!! ELLA!! ELLA!!!

      • badintent - May 20, 2013 at 1:25 AM

        Given a choice , I gotta go with Shania Twain. Did you see those cans on Billboard Music Adwards ?! Plus I dig her Swiss Mansion Pad on Lake Como. Talk about Swiss chocolate fountains !
        Can you just see Drake throwing beer bottle at J.R. like Chris did ? Gonna get his ass whooped. Ha

  2. tiger7575 - May 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Hey J. R. You looking for the pipe?

    • fanofevilempire - May 19, 2013 at 2:03 PM

      you sound like a crack head.

  3. savtom - May 19, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    The only way he retires a Knick is if he retires after last nights game…..

  4. skinsfanwill - May 19, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    His value doesn’t take that much of a hit, if at all. he was better this year than any other year in whole career. He will get paid. If Luke Walton can make $6 million a year, anybody can.

  5. jacksonkane - May 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    He is worth somewhere in the 5-7m a year range, 3 years. He doesn’t need to be consistent. He is a Jason Terry or Ginobili. They are sparks off the bench that add energy and scoring.

    Part of the problem with the current NY roster, which is a joke (Kenyon off the street, Amare warming up the bench, a bunch of no names), is that JR has too much pressure on him. He has to score 20+ for the team to succeed. So you basically have ball hog #1 (Melo) and ball hog #2 (JR).

    I believe he can play team ball. In the right situation though, his core focus is to shoot the ball. I think there will be at least 5-7 teams that will want him. I am not sure NY can afford him with their 2 max contracts on the books.

    PS – can NY amnesty Amare or did they already use their amnesty?

    • cmehustle - May 20, 2013 at 6:12 AM

      They used it on Billups, remember?

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