It’s been an ugly few months in New York for J.R. Smith, who has had little go right since signing a three-year, $17.95MM contract to remain with the Knicks. Smith has undergone knee surgery, seen his numbers slip across the board, and has been involved in incidents on and off the court, ranging from a suspension for a drug violation to a $50K fine for repeatedly trying to untie opponents’ shoelaces.
It came as no surprise then that a report yesterday indicated the Knicks were exploring the market for trade options involving Smith. The real question though is whether or not the club will actually be able to get anything in a trade for the 28-year-old — the general consensus suggests they won’t. Executives who spoke to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com about Smith jokingly proposed Shanghai or Erie as potential destinations for the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, while one exec said to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that “only an idiot” would trade for him.
Of course, it’s very possible that the Knicks know all this already. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports indicated that the club understands there’s no market for Smith and that leaking word of the supposed trade talks represents an attempt to scare him straight.
As we’ve seen demonstrated over and over again, no NBA contract is untradable, and Smith’s salary is modest enough that I think the Knicks could find a taker. The team would likely have to take on a worse contract or throw in a sweetener to get a rotation player in any deal, but it probably could be done. Still, Smith is just a few months removed from finishing the 2012/13 season with 18.1 PPG and a 17.6 PER. It may make more sense for the Knicks to hang on to him in the hopes that he can approach that form again, rather than moving him for pennies on the dollar.
What do you think? What’s the Knicks’ best course of action for dealing with Smith?