Knicks’ Smith likely to test free agency

New York Knicks' J.R. Smith gestures to the crowd. (AP/Frank Franklin II)

Fresh off being named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year, the media focus has shifted from the present to the future of New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith.

Smith signed a one-year, $2.8-million deal with a player option last summer when interest in his services was not at an all-time high but his gamble appears to have paid off.

After averaging 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season Smith is expected to the free agent market again this summer, a source told

It would be a surprise to see him return to the Knicks next season given the financial constraints New York would be under in trying to keep him on the roster.

The Knicks could only offer Smith $5.58 million in the first year of a new deal and the yearly increase would be limited as well.

There are a plethora of teams who will have money to spend this summer and there is not a bumper crop of free agents. Considering the Suns signed Eric Gordon to a four-year, $58 million offer sheet last summer which the New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets) matched, he will be a due for a raise.

Of course, Smith’s penchant for partying in New York last season could be considered a warning sign to any team going forward.

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