J.R. Smith can opt out after this season and become a free agent. And he will.
We knew that already but his father basically confirmed that to the New York Post. Then threw in an interesting tidbit — Smith had a bigger offer on the table from the Lakers but took the Knicks deal anyway.
Which leads to the bigger question — the Knicks are limited in what they can offer Smith, if another team comes in over the top with a bigger offer will Smith remain loyal to the Knicks?
Earl said his son has already taken less to be a Knick, claiming the Lakers had a superior offer last summer.
“It depends on what’s on the table,’’ Earl said. “He’s already taken a lot less the last two years to play here. Whatever the decision, I support.
If that larger offer comes, Smith thinks his son should thank Mike Woodson for it.
“I got to give all the credit to Knicks organization and Coach Woodson,’’ Earl Smith told The Post yesterday. “When you got a coach like that, anything’s possible.”
The Knicks have Smith’s Early-Bird rights, which means the most they can offer him is 104.5 percent of the average league salary. That figure has yet to be determined for next season, but safe to say the Knicks will be able to offer about $5.5 million give or take, and it must be a two-year deal at least.
Other teams under the salary cap can come in and offer more. How much more they would offer is the question — he’s the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, but he’s a gunner who takes (and often makes) bad shots. He doesn’t fit in every system. It will take the right coach and fit.
My guess is no team will come in so far over the top that Smith will be tempted, and he will stay with the Knicks. That said, never underestimate what a GM that has cap space and who needs a splash will do.