J.R. Smith flying back to America tomorrow and many teams are interested
The CBA’s season officially ends on February 15th; Smith is expected on the first flight home after his game.
Sources say Smith has been hit by a number of NBA friends and former teammates to join them including New York’s Carmelo Anthony, and Clippers teammates Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin who played with Smith in Denver.
Sources close to the process say Smith is looking for a situation in which he can play a major role and be well compensated for his efforts. Winning and the playoffs are a factor, but Smith’s camp is extremely sensitive to the perception of Smith being a role player or worse yet being a cast as a minimum dollar athlete.
The Clippers, Lakers, Knicks and Timberwolves are said to be the front runners in the chase to sign Smith. One source close to the process pointed out that where Smith signs this year may be directly related to who will have cap space or a willingness to re-sign him to a larger dollar deal next year.
Most of the teams linked to Smith have their “room exception” worth a prorated $2.5 million. With most teams having 37 regular season games remaining; that works out to $1.12 million for the balance of the season today and decreases at roughly $30,487 per game played.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have roughly $6.8 million in space. The Raptors have roughly $4.3 million in space. The Sacramento Kings have $9.42 million in space with the Pacers leading all teams with $14.27 million in space.
Teams with cap space could offer Smith their full value under the cap without prorating; this includes the Timberwolves who have $1.19 million in space.
Smith signed the largest deal in Chines Basketball Association history, earning more than $3 million for his time in China.
Smith still needs to gain his FIBA letter of clearance from China, which sources say could happen in the next few days.
One source close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Indiana Pacers -- who possess more salary-cap space to spend than any other team in the league at present
Remove the Pacers from the list:
Source: Twitter @MikeWellsNBA
The Pacers showed interest in JR Smith early on, but they're interest has since died down, according to a source