Monday, February 6, 2012
Melo would be 'happy' to have J.R. Smith
By Ian Begley
Carmelo Anthony thinks J.R. Smith, his former teammate in Denver, could handle New York well if he were to sign with the Knicks.
"Yeah, I think so, he's one of those type of players," Anthony told a small group of reporters after the Knicks' win over the Nets on Saturday. "If it happens, it happens and I'll be happy."
Earlier Saturday, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged is monitoring the league for shooters -- and it seems Smith would fit the bill.
The 26-year-old New Jersey native averaged 12.3 points last season on just 43.5 percent shooting but connected on 39 percent of his 3-point attempts.
He is currently playing in China -- where he is leading the Chinese Basketball Association in scoring (35.4 points per game).
Smith should be eligible to sign with an NBA team once his Zhejiang club finishes its season and he is cleared by FIBA.
Then Smith, an unrestricted free agent, would be free to sign with any NBA team.
The Knicks have their $2.5 million exception to offer Smith, although its on a prorated basis after Feb. 10. His reported wish list includes New York, the Clippers, Lakers, Thunder and Bulls.
From his verified account, Smith has tweeted several hints at joining the Lakers and Knicks, but seems to be having some fun with his followers.
One tweet read, "I wonder what it's like to play on broadway? #hmmmmm!"
The Knicks missed out on signing Kenyon Martin when the veteran forward opted to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers last week. But with their thin backcourt and shot-making issues (they rank 23rd in field goal percentage at 42.3 percent), finding a shooter is a more pressing need.
"I know that (Interim GM Glen Grunwald) every day will canvas the league and talk and try to make the team better," D'Antoni said. "Whatever makes sense and helps our team, we're going to do it."
The coach later added, "We know the areas that we need help and we're looking hard."
He was then asked if the team needed an experienced shooter, such as Smith.