New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith attempts to dunk the ball in their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in New York

Knicks fans love J.R. Smith, but he likely bolts this summer


When he is raining down threes like he did against Boston, it’s easy to love J.R. Smith’s game. So today, Knicks fans love him. He brings an edge off the bench that fans and teammates love. Thing is, Smith is going to keep taking those shots whether they are falling or not, and some days his shot selection can make you squirm.

But if Knicks fans were planning on seeing him around next year, they are likely in for a shock.

Smith signed for the mini-midlevel exception of $2.5 million upon his return from China (where he played during the lockout), with a player option for next year. He didn’t have a lot of choices. Smith wants a longer-term deal however and will test the market this summer, reports Alex Kennedy at Hoopsworld.

This offseason, Smith will have many more options. He’s expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract and hopes to sign a multi-year deal this summer, according to sources close to the situation. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic are among the teams expected to express interest in Smith if he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

New York is a draw. Winning is a draw. But nothing is a draw like money and other teams may have more to offer Smith this summer.

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.