The New York Knicks have gotten off to a solid if not spectacular start to the 2014-15 NBA season, posting a 2-1 record and playing the role of party poopers during LeBron James' homecoming in Cleveland.
But many still expect this season to be a building block towards bigger and better things as Phil Jackson and new head coach Derek Fisher continue to instil the triangle offense and balance the books ahead of what could be a defining 2015 free agency push.
As such the Knicks roster could see some changes in the coming months as Jackson and co look to free up some salary cap space. One player who could be deemed surplus to requirements in this rebuilding phase is shooting guard/small forward J.R. Smith.
With Smith having the option of sticking around in New York into the 2015-16 season for around $6.4 million the Knicks, it is believed, would prefer to see the oft-controversial star moved on this campaign.
And, according to the New York Daily News, Jackson has already been in contact with the Indiana Pacers over a trade involving former Knick Chris Copeland.
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The report, citing sources close to the situation, claims that both sides have been involved in "recent conversations" regarding a potential deal. It does not specify exactly how recently said conversations were held.
It's thought Jackson will hold of making any deal until at least December 15 (the date 2014 draft picks and free agent movers can be traded) but it is interesting to see that the President of the Knicks is already putting out feelers over potential deals.
Trade makes sense
Chris Copeland is hardly a straight swap for former sixth man of the year J.R. Smith but that is why the trade makes sense.
Unlike Smith, Copeland is on an expiring contract with the Pacers after leaving the Knicks in 2013 to sign a two-year, $6 million deal. If they could bring in the forward in exchange for Smith it would mean more room to manoeuvre for the Knicks as they bid to entice some of 2015 free agencies top stars.
And while J.R. Smith is a talented player he does come with baggage. Whether it his childlike on-court antics, recent injury trouble or difficulties picking up the triangle offense his standing in New York certainly makes him a disposable asset.
The Pacers meanwhile cannot afford to be too picky. With Lance Stephenson now gone and Paul George out of action they are in desperate need of efficient scorers.
What do you think Knicks fans? Is it time to let Smith go in the hope of getting a big name next summer, or is he worth hanging on to?