Re-signing Smith will be one of the Knicks' top priorities. Several teams, though, will likely be interested in the sixth-man's services.
Will J.R. Smith be a Knick next season?
And the Knicks will be limited in what they can offer.
So there's no guarantee that Smith returns to New York next season.
Do you think the Knicks should do everything they can to bring Smith back, or would you be OK with letting him walk?
Below, we will spell out the implications of Smith re-signing with the Knicks, and Smith signing elsewhere.
IF HE SIGNS: The Knicks can re-sign Smith for $4.9 million using the Early Bird exception, with standard raises over four years. They cannot exceed this offer.
Teams with salary cap space can offer a richer contract. So Smith may have to leave money on the table to return to New York.
If the Knicks re-sign Smith, the $4.9 million added to their books simply increases the team's luxury tax bill. If they don't spend the $4.9 million on Smith, it doesn't mean they can spend the money on another free agent.
So, basically, it's either Smith or nothing.
For those of you who hope Smith walks, the sentence above is key.
Smith is also the best secondary-scoring option for the Knicks.
So to let him walk without a replacement in mind would be foolish.
The only known benefit to letting Smith go would be to cut $2.8 million from payroll and reduce the Knicks' tax bill. Cutting $2.8 million from the payroll would also make it more feasible to swing a sign-and-trade (the Knicks can execute this if they are under the yet-to-be-determined tax apron after the deal). But not by much.
IF HE WALKS: If Smith signs with another team, the Knicks will be left without last season's second-best scorer.
Sure, Smith struggled mightily in the postseason. But there were many nights last year when he was the most indispensable Knick, so replacing Smith will be difficult.