When J.R. Smith opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks, two teams emerged as interested parties immediately: the Detroit Pistons and the Milwaukee Bucks. Out of those two, the Bucks are emerging as the favorite to sign the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
The takeaway is that teams are going to shovel money at J.R. Smith, and the Knicks can’t offer Smith what other teams can. What the Knicks can offer is the chance to be a part of a winning franchise and close to his hometown. It’s the same pitch the Dallas Mavericks unsuccessfully gave to Deron Williams last summer.
So it will come down to what J.R. Smith wants? The money and a leadership role in a teams offense in a smaller market or winning in a big city.
“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 ESPN.com.”
“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.”