The New York Knicks have seen better days from the NBA’s Reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith. On Tuesday night, Smith registered his second healthy DNP in the Knicks’ past four games. Moreover, head coach Mike Woodson recently publicly told Smith to “be more of a pro.” Throw in all of his on- and off-court prima-donna antics and his poor play and it’s clear that there’s trouble brewing in the Big Apple.
However, with the date being Jan. 15, Smith is now eligible to be traded by the Knicks. As the Knicks signed him to a 20 percent raise this summer, they had to wait until this date to possibly deal him. Now that he can be traded and with the recent drama within the Knicks, the rumors are bound to start circulating quite furiously.
Looking at the landscape of the league, though, I’m not sure what kind of market there is actually going to be for Smith. Even assuming that Smith can remedy the fact that he’s shooting just 35.7 percent from the floor and only 34.6 percent from three season, there’s still the attitude problems to work through and the fact that he’s on the books for near $6 million next season and has a $6.4 million player option for the 2015-16 season.
One of the biggest things about a market for Smith is the fact that he’s only really useful, when he’s at his best, to a contending team. In that context, what contending team is there out there that has assets they’d want to flip for Smith and that contract? I’m not so sure that there are many, if any at all.
Possibly the biggest detriment to a trade market for Smith are his antics and behavioral issues, though. Time and again we’ve heard that he needs to grow up, but this is 28-year-old man that has been in the league for nine and a half years now. The point for growing up seems to have passed and we might just need to accept that J.R. is who he is.
My first inclination is to say that Smith is going to end up staying with the Knicks, but there is the chance that a fringe-contender could take a gamble on Smith. However, even with the inevitable rumors that are going to start swirling, I’m not sure the market for Smith is going to be as frantic as you might expect.