If the New York Knicks truly believe they are a legit NBA champion contender this year they should make that call to J.R. Smith and offer him a one-year deal in the $8-9M range.
The deal would put them over the luxury tax but if Phil Jackson believes that he is one player away then he must do what has to be done. The Cleveland Cavaliers are dragging their feet offering Smith a new deal and Smith is fed up. Here’s his frustration boiling over as news broke that the Cavs signed guard Toney Douglass:
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) October 3, 2016
The Knicks and Smith had a rocky relationship while there but Smith has always put it on the line for the team. It can’t be a coincidence that both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James values his play, but why not the owners? What happened in the past is just that, the past. The Knicks are still in need of another scorer and possibly a starting SG. Not to take anything away from Courtney Lee but Smith is by far the superior player between the two.
But, if the Knicks were to reach out to Smith, that would mean a luxury penalty. Currently, the team is over the cap but with $9m in luxury room they can make an offer. If Smith is really pissed at the Cavs he would jump at the chance to stick it to them by joining a team that is seen as a possible threat to unseat the NBA Champs in the East.
A lineup that features Rose, Smith, Porzingis. Anthony and Noah, no doubt has the pedigree for an Eastern Conference Finals run. Smith still has his quirky, childish ways about him but this is the same player that helped the Cavs to two straight Finals appearances. In 2014 when the Cavs fought their way to the Finals against the Warriors, check the tape, it wasn’t all LeBron. There were flashes of Smith draining three’s in Curry’s face, playing tight defense on Thompson and the same could be said for last year.
He took heat for the no shirt situation after winning a ring but he deserved that moment to shine and now the Cavs are all but willing to toss him aside. This is when the Knicks should pounce on the situation, pay the tax and hope that everything comes together like Jackson has planned.