If their 5-32 record didn't already point that way, then last night's trade action revealed that the New York Knicks have officially entered full tank mode and today one of their departing stars took to social media to express his thanks to the fans.
The struggling franchise sent two of their more high profile names, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-way deal that saw the Cavs sent Dion Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In return the Knicks acquired three non-guaranteed contracts (Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson from Cleveland and Lance Thomas from OKC), which they plan to waive tomorrow, and a 2019 second-round draft pick.
Smith says thanks
Smith's departure did not materialize out of the blue, with rumors and speculation concerning the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year's future in New York doing the rounds for months due to his impending $6.4 million 2015-16 player option.
He hasn't always been the flavor of the month amongst his home town New York fans but he took to Instagram today to declare his thanks to all those who have helped him over the past three years.
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Smith will now swap an NBA basement battle for a potential shot at the title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. His new employees will be hoping the SG can have an immediate impact too, with the Cavs' injury-hit roster struggling to live up to preseason expectations.
Despite Smith's heartfelt message relayed above, his controversial character clearly proceeded him as the trade was being finalized. Reports today suggest Cleveland officials spoke to LeBron James to see if the superstar was prepared to play with Smith this season.
As for the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson has put his cards on the table with this trade move. In letting go of Smith and Shumpert (as well as Samuel Dalembert) the team will save over $20 million on salary cap and luxury taxes - money they will hope to use on big names in 2015 free agency.
Sacrificing any hope of a respectable 2014-15 campaign comes at a price it seems.