This was ultimately the deal both sides wanted, and now they care close to making it happen.
The Knicks are near a deal to re-sign J.R. Smith to a multi-year contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The two sides are finalizing the number of years (likely three, it can’t be more than four under the CBA rules) and the options, Woj reports.
The money here is the easy part. The Knicks have Smith’s Early Bird rights which means they are limited in what they can offer him (175 percent of his old salary or 104 percent of the league average salary). In this case, the league average of about $5.4 million will be the higher offer.
As for years, the max is four but the Knicks likely want to go shorter than that, and Smith will have some options in there.
Smith, 27, was the Sixth Man of the Year last season and was the second leading scorer on the Knicks. He averaged 18.2 points a game and shot 42.2 percent overall 35.6 percent from three. While statistics say there is no such thing as the hot hand shooter, Smith feels like the exception to the rule. He is the king of taking and making bad, contested jump shots, and on the nights they fall there is not much you can do. On the nights they aren’t falling, he is still shooting.
The Knicks needed Smith back because they had no way to really replace his scoring or energy off the bench. The money is fair a bit of a bargain for what he brings to the table.
In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.
DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.
Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.
Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.
“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”
“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”
The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?
In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.
I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.
Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.
The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:
The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.
Clean, simple, cool — I like it.
That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)