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Chris Paul To Help In Recruiting J.R. Smith To Clippers

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(SB Nation, Scott Schroeder) Former Denver Nuggets shooting guard J.R. Smith will be a free agent as soon as he returns from his lockout vacation in China. He likely won't be on the open market for long, however, as there are a few teams that seem ready to sign him upon entry into America.

The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are both still interested, meaning not a lot has changed since last week's report, but the Clippers have become a more attractive option as of late. Not only can the now offer a starting spot as Chauncey Billups is out for the season, but Smith's being recruited as well, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source. The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets.

The Clippers still can't offer Smith a lot of money, and it seems Smith and Carmelo Anthonyhave some connection as well, but it certainly can't hurt to have the best point guard in the game helping recruiting efforts for the Clippers.