DENVER, CO - APRIL 23: J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates a three point shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith is reportedly closing in on a deal that would make him the highest-paid player in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith is closing in on a record contract to sign to play in the Chinese Basketball Association next season, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Smith, a free-agent guard from the Denver Nuggets, is looking at a deal that could pay him $3 million for next season, according to the report.
Smith is a talented, but erratic scorer who has been in and out of Denver coach George Karl's doghouse in his five-year career with the Nuggets. He is still only 26 years old and has averaged 12.5 points in just 23.9 minutes per game during his NBA career.
He is slated to be an unrestricted free agent. It's unclear how wed to retaining Smith the Nuggets are; Denver also has a number of other free agents to deal with this summer and was likely going to put Smith on the backburner.
Smith becomes the second free agent to flirt with signing in China. Teammate Wilson Chandler signed there a couple weeks ago.