The Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks are among the top suitors for New York Knicks free-agent guard J.R. Smith, according to league sources.
On Tuesday, the market for shooting guards began to take shape. This development could have a direct impact on Smith's future.
J.J. Redick agreed to a four-year, $27 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, via a sign-and-trade. Oklahoma City Thunder sharpshooter Kevin Martin signed a four-year contract in the neighborhood of $30 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
Smith averaged more points (18.1) and rebounds (5.3) per game than both players, but his reputation for inconsistent play and his subpar postseason may impact the offers he receives.
Other teams, such as Charlotte, Dallas and reportedly Houston, are expected to show interest in Smith, depending on what happens with the top free agents on the market. All three teams are under the salary cap and can offer Smith more than the $5.5 million over four years that the Knicks can offer, if they choose.
One person close to Smith believes that, if all offers are equal, the 2012-13 Sixth Man Award winner will choose to return to New York.
Smith has a strong relationship with Coach Mike Woodson and the Freehold, N.J., product enjoys playing close to his family.
But it could be difficult for Smith to turn down a lucrative offer or the chance to start for another team. Smith has signed contracts below market value for the past two seasons in New York.
One option for the Knicks is to offer Smith a two-year deal with an option for the second year. If Smith accepts, New York would have his full Bird rights and exceed the salary cap to make him an offer next summer. Smith, according to a league source, is the Knicks' top free-agent priority.
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