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Clipper, Magic, T-Wolves expected to pursue JR Smith this Summer

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From Hoopsworld, middle feature, click the link or just read below: Smith Expected to Test Free Agency: When the New York Knicks signed J.R. Smith in February, they knew they were getting a steal. The 26-year-old returned from his lockout stint in China and signed for the room exception worth $2.5 million. That’s one-third of what Smith made last season with the Denver Nuggets, but the shooting guard didn’t have many options given his midseason return to the NBA. This offseason, Smith will have many more options. He’s expected to opt-out of the final year of his contract and hopes to sign a multi-year deal this summer, according to sources close to the situation. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic are among the teams expected to express interest in Smith if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Teams are always looking for players who are able to create their own shot and Smith can do exactly that. Since joining the Knicks, he has provided plenty of offense off of the bench, averaging 12 points per game. While Smith has a reputation for being somewhat high maintenance, he won’t have any problem finding a potential suitor this offseason. There are plenty of executives who believe his on-court contributions are worth his sometimes questionable decisions off the court. The Knicks will have a difficult time re-signing Smith this summer. Re-signing Jeremy Lin will likely be the team’s top priority. Because Lin hasn’t been in New York for two seasons, they don’t hold his Early Bird Rights, which means the Knicks are not allowed to go over the cap to re-sign him. That means the Knicks will have to use their mid-level exception to keep Lin, who can sign for a maximum starting salary of $5 million due to the Gilbert Arenas Provision. Landry Fields, Steve Novak, Baron Davis and Jared Jeffries will also be free agents this offseason. If Smith opts out, as expected, it likely closes the door on a future with the Knicks.

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