Everything the New York Knicks did last season backfired, blowing up in their face. This includes J.R. Smith getting a three-year deal, something the current administration is trying to rectify, but not expecting to have much luck doing it.
The Knicks have too many guards, and too many they don’t want. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are on top of that list. Shumpert has been mentioned as part of a trade ever since he entered this league. The Oklahoma City Thunder seemed like a possible destination, but right now nothing is happening with that. Smith has a bad contract. He was signed for the Mid-Level exception, which means two more seasons (player options on the second one) for just over $12 million. He also has a 15% trade kicker which the Knicks will pay if he’s dealt.
Smith averaged 14.5 points per game last season, finding himself in the starting lineup over the later parts of the season. In every way – from efficiency to total numbers, it was a huge drop off compared to his 2012-2013 season. The same can be said about everyone who played for the Knicks last season except for Carmelo Anthony.
Smith isn’t the only player Jackson is finding a hard time getting rid of. Wayne Ellington, Shannon Brown and Andrea Bargnani, who is possibly packaged in a deal with Iman Shumpert are all hopefully (for the Knicks) going to play somewhere else next season. Smith might be the best player of all four, but he’s also the most problematic considering his antics from last season that didn’t help him win over fans or the love of the coaching staff.
Maybe the Knicks season won’t be as bad as the previous one. Mike Woodson is gone and for now, they seem as healthy as the’re probably going to get. Still, Jackson knows that afrer signing Anthony to a five-year contract, he has a bit more freedom to try and offload some players in order to put the Knicks in an excellent situation going into the summer of 2015 in terms of cap space and flexibility.