Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith had an unbelievable regular season for the New York Knicks and he was instrumental to helping the team reach the level of success they achieved. Unfortunately, after a suspension during the first-round of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics, Smith lost his mojo and he was never the same.
Quite frankly, Smith was awful down the stretch. His field goal percentage plummeted and he disappeared when the team needed him most.
Smith is now expected to opt out of his $3 million player option for next season and test the free agent waters in hopes of securing a long-term deal with more money. But can the Knicks match that offer? He sure hopes so.
“I want to retire a Knick. I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Smith said, per Peter Botte of the New York Daily News. “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.”
After those comments, Smith was then asked if he would consider a pay cut to remain in New York. Once the money was brought up, seemed to back off of his comments a bit.
“I haven’t even thought about all that, that far,” he added. “I still have to talk to (agent) Leon (Rose) and see where we’re at.”
If Smith really wants to stay in New York, he can play next season for $3 million and redeem himself for the awful postseason performance. If money is really the concern, then he will bolt in free agency and head to a team that is looking for a guy that isn’t afraid to chuck the ball at the basket.
There is still some time to see what will happen with Smith, but it is hard to see him not chasing the money.