The New York Knicks could wind up being a mess by the beginning of next year. Already having to deal with multiple suitors for free agent forward Chris Copeland, they now look as if they could be without J.R. Smith as he is opting out of the final year of his deal.
If New York wants any shot to make a playoff run next year, they are going to need to try and retain these guys, otherwise convince some pretty good players to come to the Knicks for less.
The issue I have with Smith opting out is this: He will likely command a much larger deal than he is worth. Even after a solid season scoring the ball for New York, he is still a spotty shooter and is not worth what he may have in mind.
At the maximum I believe Smith could be worth anywhere from $5-$8 million per year. Sadly, he may demand even more than that. I would guess he is looking for double digits, which is significantly more than he is worth for being such an inconsistent player.
His role with the Knicks is perfect for wherever he may land. As a starter, he has never really shown the ability to consistently be the guy. At times he has thought so, but most would agree he is a second or third — or even fourth — option at best.
Smith showed a desire to come play with his buddy Carmelo Anthony last year and he got his wish. Does he still want to play in New York? Probably. Will the Knicks be able to pay him that much? Doubtful.
Again, Copeland needs to be a priority as well and he will likely get a bit bigger deal than most would have expected at this time last summer. Copeland performed well in the amount of minutes he played and will likely be headed elsewhere.
New York better start preparing for life without not only Copeland, but Smith, very soon. Next season we could be looking at a much different team than the one that took the floor in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.