J.R. Smith is expected back in the United States this week an NBA free agent. His team in China has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs and the season ends this week.
And the Clippers want him. Badly. Especially now that their starting two guard is gone for the season.
The Clippers are not alone in coveting Smith — the Knicks are considered the frontrunners, the Lakers and others are in the mix — which is why Chris Paul has become the Clippers lead recruiter, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Clippers were interested in Smith even before the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups last week, believing they could use more offensive firepower off the bench. That was going to be a harder sell to Smith, who is looking for a larger role. Now, they can offer Smith the opportunity to start.
Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source. The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets.
If you want a connection, Kenyon Martin (and Chauncey Billups) have the same agent as Smith.
But it may come down to money. Which is good for New York.
The Knicks can offer $2.5 million (their mini mid-level) and he would get most of that (it is pro-rated from only Feb. 10). The Clippers can only offer a veteran’s minimum deal that is pro-rated from the start of the season. The Knicks also have room for a starting two guard so he gets his run.
But CP3 is trying. And unlike the Knicks, the Clippers are a threat to make it to the finals. Just depends on what Smith wants.
When you ask Lakers fans for bold predictions, you get the delusional to come out of the woodwork.
Most Lakers fans I know — remember, I’m a former Laker blogger living in So Cal, even my optometrist wants to talk Lakers during my eye exam — are realistic about where the team is in the rebuild process. Like me, they want to see a healthy season of Kobe Bryant where he can choose whether or not to continue his career on his terms, not Father Time’s.
But Lakers exceptionalism is a thing, and there are Lakers fans living in a fantasy land.
That’s what Jenna Corrado and I get to in the latest PBT Extra: There are Lakers fans that think they are playoff bound. And there are people who expect even more than that from this team this year — like Kobe Bryant to return to MVP form. Those people need to stop taking so much glaucoma medication.
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.
Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.
Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.
A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”
Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.