As our good friend Seth Rosenthal, Vicar of the Posting and Toasting Manor, put it earlier this morning on Twitter: “Of course J.R. Smith re-signed while I was sleeping.”
Indeed, multiple sour mixes have confirmed that Smith will return to the Knicks, who stand to pay the streaky-shooting wing $2.8 million — the absolute most the cash-strapped Bocker’s could muster — with a player option for the second year.
News of the signing broke just as James Dolan was finishing a blistering JD & The Straight Shot set at the Hard Rock Cafe by smashing his guitar, which sprayed thousand dollar bills into the crowd of 19.
After spending a good chunk of last fall and the early part of the lockout-shortened NBA season over in China, Smith returned stateside in February — at the height of Linsanity — and became an immediate contributor off the bench. His propensity for shenanigans both curricular and extra-so made him an easy target. But his improved defense, hustle, and seemingly genuine affinity for the Big Apple also managed to endear him, as did any night when the 21-foot fade-away jumpers were actually falling.
It should also be noted that Smith’s signing came no more than eight hours after the Knicks had inked Steve Novak to a four-year, $15 million offer. Smith was one of the first to publicly congratulate Novak, who at times seemed to be the only person on the floor J.R. actually looked to pass to. (According to NBA.com, Smith dished Novak the second most dimes, behind only Jeremy Lin.)
With the Knicks still in significant need of able-bodied wings, Smith’s signing — while just shy a forgone conclusion to most — helps fill an immediate need for the orange and blue, who stand to be without the services of Iman Shumpert until at least January.
As many have pointed out, Smith’s lollygagging amidst a flurry of — how do I say this? — really awful contracts across the league did more than anything to assure the Knicks could get a good deal, the logic being that Smith could have accepted slightly better offers, instead of assuming the Knicks would overpay. Which, lets face it, isn’t exactly hitting on 19.
Say what you will about the man, at $2.8 million, it’s hard to argue he’s not a bargain. As things stand, he might even be starting come late October, a prospect that will send as many shivers as shits up people’s spines, no doubt.
What sayest thou?