The Milwaukee Bucks are once again in re-building mode. Letting go of Monta Ellis, trading J.J. Redick and only getting back 2nd round picks, and drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo are all obvious signs that the Bucks are trying to get better by actually getting worse. However, the Bucks may also be making these moves to clear up cap space in hopes of landing a good free agent. One of those free agents might be shooting guard J.R. Smith, who won the 6th man of the year award last season with the Knicks.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
“The Bucks, who have gutted their team and have plenty of cap space, are shaping up as the leading suitor for J.R. Smith.
But if Smith leaves the Knicks to get more bucks in Milwaukee, he will find himself in a rebuilding program. That’s the decision the Freehold, N.J., native, has to make.
Take less to stay with the hometown Knicks, who can offer a four-year, roughly $24 million contract — which comes to $6 million a season after yearly raises — or follow the “green’’ jerseys of Milwaukee or another under-the-cap club willing to make a four-year commitment. The market value is being set for him to get an offer of at least $7 million per year.”
If J.R. Smith is looking for the most lucrative deal, there’s a good chance the Bucks are the best place for him to go. But as Berman points out, going to the Bucks means not contending for a title or even competing to get out of the first round of the playoffs. If Smith wants to be on a more competitive team, there is a good chance he’ll have to take a bit of a pay cut. It’ll be interesting to see where J.R. Smith ends up. Especially with this high-bidding war for his services being escalated by weaker teams like the Bucks.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord