May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) reacts to losing to the Indiana Pacers in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats New York 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

J.R. Smith Expected To Opt Out of Contract With New York Knicks; Will Test Free Agency

The New York Knicks are out of the NBA Playoffs and the team now has more than a few questions to answer about where the club will be when the season tips off in 2013. One of those question marks surrounds Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith and his plans for the future. He’d been teetering on the brink but after the Game 6 loss to the Pacers, there is likely nothing that will stop Smith from testing free agent waters this summer.

All the way back in late April, sources told Moke Hamilton that Smith is “very, very likely” to decline his player option with the Knicks and see what he’s worth to other teams in free agency.

Smith has a player option for next season, and a source close to Smith tells that it is “very, very likely” that he will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

 While that’s bad enough, if Smith hits the open market he’s going to draw some serious attention from contenders looking to add his talent to their roster. That means some contract offers are headed his way and the cash strapped Knicks may quickly see Smith balloon out of their price range, forcing them to let him walk to another team.
New York does have an Early-Bird exception they can use on Smith but after all the painstaking calculations, New York could only offer Smith a max contract of $24.8 million over four years which is on the low end of what he’ll likely see in terms of offers. That deal would pay Smith about $6.2 million annually which again, is less than what teams who really want him will offer.
Should Smith sign with another team, it would mark the second straight year that the Sixth Man of the Year started the following season in a new uniform, and the Knicks won’t be as in control of the situation as Oklahoma City was with James Harden.

Tags: NBA New York Knicks

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