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Report: Bucks have ‘strong’ interest in J.R. Smith

Jun 27, 2013, 12:17 AM EDT

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks - Game Five Getty Images

J.R. Smith opted out of the final year of his deal with the Knicks, and that was the smart move financially following his Sixth Man of the Year award-winning season.

It doesn’t mean Smith won’t return to New York, but it does mean that other teams may throw a lot more money in his direction in hopes that he’ll be tempted to play elsewhere.

The latest team with a reported interest would likely have to break the bank in order for Smith to strongly consider packing his bags.

From Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York:

The Milwaukee Bucks have “strong” interest in the New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith and also want to make an offer to his teammate Chris Copeland, two league sources confirmed to

The Bucks will be entering free agency with their starting backcourt, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, testing free agency. But they also have leverage because they are under the cap, unlike the Knicks, and they can outbid for the services of Smith and Copeland.

The most Smith can make in New York is $5.58 million with early Bird rights. He declined his player option of $2.9 million earlier this month, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Smith is fond of playing for the Knicks, and really likes the scene in New York. It would be tough to envision him joining a small market franchise like Milwaukee, unless the dollars and the opportunity to be a leader of the team’s offense appeal to him more than playing for a winning team in the big city has in the past.

It makes sense for the Bucks to go after someone like Smith if they should be unable to keep either Ellis or Jennings in free agency, but it’s also slightly hilarious that they would target a gunner like Smith to potentially pair with either of the two currently on the roster.

Ellis is an unrestricted free agent, while Jennings is restricted, meaning the Bucks have the right to match any offer he may receive from another team in order to retain his services.

  1. saint1997 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    That’s the sound of Milwaukee club owners desperately running to the phone – they’re gonna need more stock

  2. jmoney34 - Jun 27, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    Wow. Who runs the bucks front office. Smith would Be a horrible fit.

  3. cflip376 - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    “Rebuild?.. hahaha… no thanks. We’re fine being an Perennial 8th Seed/Borderline Playoff squad”

    – Bucks

    Just what they need another headcase, feel bad for Sanders.

  4. savvybynature - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    To hopefully pair with Ellis? That would be fantastic! In the way that two brand new sports cars crashing into one another off the line would be fantastic.

  5. halfbaht - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    I’m pretty sure JR would rather stay in NY coming off the bench than join that circus of outcasts and idiots in Milwaukee

    • savvybynature - Jun 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      So he’d rather be backup circus idiot for less money rather than a starting circus idiot? Just because they have better parties?

      • fanofevilempire - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:33 AM

        no, because knickerbockers played in the second round.

      • beagle11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:06 AM

        So he’d rather be backup circus idiot for less money rather than a starting circus idiot? Just because they have better parties?
        Yes, that is exactly right!

      • beagle11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:07 AM

        no, because knickerbockers played in the second round.

        Did he play in the 2nd round? I don’t remember seeing him?

  6. huskerguy - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    Chitowm is 45 min away…

    But don’t think it’s a good fit

  7. patfic15 - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    Bucks…most irrelevant team in the NBA. They need a star down there big time.

  8. ryanrockzzz - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:34 AM


  9. jamieaadams - Jun 27, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    J. R. Smith? Man, Milwaukee is working hard to make sure it gets in the lottery next season.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 27, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      I’m not a J.R. Smith fan or a Knicks or Milwaukee fan. I’m a Bulls fan.

      Monta Ellis made $11 million last year and wants more.

      J.R. Smith played for like $2.9 million last year and wants more.

      Wherever these two end up for this coming season, Monta will still make more than J.R. Smith.

      So Milwaukee would be saving money by getting Smith instead of Monta.

      This past year, Monta Ellis only shot .287% from 3 pt range and he is only a career .318% 3 pt shooter.

      This past year, Smith shot .356% from 3 pt range and he is a career .367% 3 pt shooter.

      So changing out a much higher dollar player who is a much lower percentage shooter for one who costs less and shoots better isn’t a bad decision to make.

      No Monta is a better 2 pt shooter but his career percentage isn’t nearly as far above JR’s as JR’s 3 pt shooting is ahead of Monta’s.

      But if I were Milwaukee, I’d get rid of Monta and not go after JR either…

  10. beagle11 - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Milwaukee (as do all small market teams) need a Popovich.. They also need a little bit of luck, winning the lottery and taking Bogut first will put you in the throngs of mediocrity for a decade, exactly where you don’t want to be if your in a small market.

  11. sportsnut101 - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Ellis n jr smith are same player. Smith just cheaper. Smart move actually. Smith a better 3point shooter

    Copeland will stay in ny once jr leaves

  12. 13arod - Jun 27, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    Jj and jr smith on one team sweet

  13. padraighansen - Jun 27, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Hammond does this for a living, I do not, so I’m not going to pretend to think that I know more about this than he does. All of that being said, I’m wondering if this isn’t a smokescreen of sorts….and if not, what the hell the Bucks are thinking. They are a dysfunctional group – I wouldn’t even call them a team – that has, for the last few years, been hamstrung by bad contracts and mis-matched personnel. Adding a J.R. Smith would seem to do nothing but add to that trend.

  14. harshedmellow - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Money talks to these players who haven’t played out a fattie contract yet… I’m thinking he’s gonna listen real hard to any team that offers him a couple mil more than NY. After all, a million here, million there, pretty soon you are getting into real money…

  15. moseskkim - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Jr can be explosive. He had huge stretches with melo and other out and even with melo at times. I say go for him and keep Jennings if not keep Ellis. Though they aren’t efficient, they can score and keep people in the seats. They ain’t gonna win anyways but gotta bring customers in and make money.

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