As KnicksJournal.com settles into its new digs at Bloguin, one Knickerbocker has made the decision to stay close to home.
My buddy Ian Begley at ESPN New York reports that J.R. Smith will remain in the Big Apple, after signing a new four year pact with the Knicks. More after the jump.
Re-signing for $24.7 million, Smith took home the most money the Knicks could have possibly offered him. Still, that's not to say other teams couldn't and/or didn't offer him a more lucrative offer this past week as free agency opened.
With Smith, an NBA team has to be comfortable weighing the pros and the cons and taking the good with the bad. The swingman's streaky shooting tendencies prove him to be quite the inconsistent player, as evidenced this past postseason. Still, when Smith gets going offensively, there's hardly anyone who can stop him. That, obviously, is the flip side of things.
One could argue that if it wasn't for Smith, the Knicks wouldn't have emerged as a 54 game winning team, a second seed in the Eastern Conference, nor the Atlantic Division Champions. Smith was crucial to his team's regular season success, and often provided the latter of a necessary one-two punch with superstar Carmelo Anthony to help knock opposing teams out on a nightly basis.
Many of Smith's offensive outbursts this season were truly remarkable. What's more, he single-handedly even won a couple of games for the Knicks with some last-second buzzer beaters. At the height of his production, there was talk of the Freehold, New Jersey, native demanding approximately $10 million per season. A poor postseason, during which he fizzled out and left his teammates out to dry, put an end to that.
With all of this in mind, did the Knicks get a bargain with regard to retaining Smith, or was the offer just right? The new contract seems to be incredibly fair for Smith, who will have the option to opt out his deal prior to the fourth and final year.
Smith's very important to what the Knicks do, but for taking a chance on him and rolling with the punches (both the positive and negative ones), perhaps he provided them with a little hometown discount. Even so, there appear to be more benefits, like playing in a big market and staying close to home (on, not to mention, a winning team), rather than venturing out to a place like Milwaukee for more money.
This should be considered a win-win for both sides.