Jul 1, 2013, 1:27 PM EDT
The Knicks remain the odds-on favorite to retain their second scoring option and Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith.
But there is a limit to how much they can offer him. The Knicks have Smith’s Early Bird rights (and are over the tax line), so they can only offer a deal for 175 percent of what he made last year (which would be $4.9 million) or they can offer just over the league average salary, which would be $5.4 million. The Knicks are expected to make a multi-year $5.4 million offer soon.
But another team with cap space could come in with a better offer and Smith would be forced to choose. A few teams are considering it, reports the New York Post.
The Knicks believe odds are they will retain J.R. Smith, but it hardly is a guarantee considering the bevy of under-the-cap clubs and a weak free-agent class. The Bucks, Pistons and Suns are contemplating throwing money Smith’s way.
Would Smith take a $6 million to move? How much higher does it have to be for him to walk from the Knicks?
Any offer for Smith likely comes a little ways into free agency, once those teams see how their first options work out.
There was some buzz that the Knicks were considering Monta Ellis, possibly as a replacement if they lose Smith. But the Knicks could only offer him $3.2 million a year as a free agent, which would be great value if they could get him but the more likely outcome is Ellis takes the larger paycheck somewhere else.
- Five teams poised to make a big leap forward this season 1
- Steve Nash to miss entire 2014-15 season with ongoing back injuries 43
- Jeanie Buss: ‘Any free agent that would be afraid to play with Kobe Bryant is probably a loser’ 65
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Memphis Grizzlies 7
- Five top candidates for NBA Rookie of the Year 30
- NBA GMs surveyed predict LeBron will win MVP, Spurs will repeat as champions 31
- Owners vote down NBA Draft lottery reform, system to stay same for this season 47
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 preview: Houston Rockets 26