The New York Knicks will have to compete with the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks if they want to re-sign J.R. Smith, according to Ian Begley. The shooting guard is drawing interest from both teams, who hope to sign him away from the Knicks after his career year in New York.
The question is whether Smith wants to leave New York. There is speculation that Smith would never want to play in a smaller city like Milwaukee, and all things equal, a return to New York appears to be his preference. But there is a chance Smith will not get his "all things equal" scenario. The Knicks may not offer him as much as the Bucks or the Pistons do, leaving him to choose between less money in the big market he enjoys or more money away from the bright lights of New York.
While the Pistons and Bucks appear to be the leaders for Smith right now, things could change in the next few weeks. As the dominoes of NBA free agency fall, especially after Dwight Howard makes his decision on where to play, more teams could join the Smith sweepstakes. The Dallas Mavericks are potentially one of those teams, and there could be more to follow.
Smith averaged 18.1 points and 5.3 assists for the Knicks last season, but he struggled in the playoffs. He was especially bad in the second round against the Pacers, when he shot just 29% as New York was eliminated.