New York Knicks Rumors: What Are Top 5 Landing Spots for J.R. Smith?
Why Might the New York Knicks Want to Trade J.R. Smith?
Last Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith got into a heated argument with head coach Mike Woodson. Supposedly, the following day at practice, Woodson then showed several of Smith's shots to the team in a discussion about "poor shot selection." Then Friday, Smith responded to all of that turmoil by attempting only one shot all game against the Boston Celtics.
Suffice to say, this situation looks like it might have crossed that line where now the team will have to trade Smith, and word on the street is that they're openly looking at any offers for the two-guard. In my opinion, that's the right move for the organization. Smith and Woodson clearly can't coexist from this point on, and if the Knicks have any shot at turning their season around, they're going to have to keep their locker room in order.
There are a couple potential landing destinations for Smith that have been talked about a bit by analysts so far, but only one of those two possible destinations really make sense in my estimation. I think there are a few other teams who should definitely be giving this type of move some thought, as Smith could be a real game-changer in the right scenario.
Following are five teams in which it would make sense for Smith to be traded to.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
This suggestion might come as a bit of a surprise, but if the Thunder really want to get back to the NBA Finals, why not try to reconstruct what they once had with their "Big 3" of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden? They sort of tried it with Kevin Martin unsuccessfully last year, but there's no question that Smith can be a more dynamic playmaker and scorer than Martin.
The only problem here is, would the Knicks be interested in a combination of players such as Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson or Nick Collison? Odds are this scenario won't happen, but at last resort, maybe the Knicks pull some kind of deal with OKC.
4. Chicago Bulls
This is more about the Bulls than the Knicks. There's no question that the Bulls need someone who can get their own shot, because they've got no one. Considering Smith is one of the few guys on the market with that kind ability, maybe they make a splash here looking toward the future. After this season, Smith will still have two years left on his contract, and pairing him with Derrick Rose might be something worth exploring.
This is also a case, though, of who would the Knicks want from the Bulls? Most likely Taj Gibson would be of interest to the Knicks, but they'd have to find a way to make the salaries work. Perhaps something like Gibson and the Charlotte Bobcats' first for Smith, Kenyon Martin and Player X.
3. Phoenix Suns
This is where I get a little off the radar. The Suns have no true shooting guard on their roster really, and two good, young point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. There's no question that Bledsoe has more upside and has been fantastic this year, so I wouldn't expect them to move him. But if the Suns wanted to really make a push for one of the bottom seeds in the West like they have so far this season, maybe moving Dragic to the Knicks -- who are point-guard-desperate -- for Smith could become a very real possibility.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
This is one of the more publicized potential deals that has been making its way out there. The Lakers and Knicks supposedly both have interest in making the deal of Tyson Chandler and Smith for Pau Gasol. Don't ask me why, but the Knicks are alleged to have interest in this. In my opinion, this would be a horrible move -- even worse than the trade for Andrea Bargnani.
Why would you give up your only good defensive big in Chandler -- who happens to be one of the best on that end of the court -- for Gasol? You've got enough offense on this team, the major problem is the defense. This has been talked about, though, so maybe the rumors are true ... Even if it is a dumb idea.
1. Toronto Raptors
The Raptors seem like the most likely destination for Smith. Both teams have contracts that match up well, and the interest in Kyle Lowry by the Knicks has been well document over the past couple weeks. The deal would likely involve Raymond Felton from the Knicks as well, and in return, I'd expect the Raptors to send someone like Tyler Hansbrough over to match up the salaries.
This move would benefit both teams as the Knicks would get the point guard they've been targeting as well as another big who excels defensively, and the Raptors would have a dynamic rotation of guys who can play SG and SF in Smith, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Landry Fields while Felton and Greivis Vasquez run the point.