J.R. Smith recently said that if the Knicks win the championship, he will get a Knicks tattoo.
So should fans read anything into the permanency of that potential blue and orange addition?
Well, during a “SportsCenter” segment on Monday discussing his Sixth Man Award, Smith said that New York is where he wants to finish his career.
“Without a doubt,” Smith said. “I was born in New Jersey, born and raised. I would love to retire a Knick.”
This offseason, Smith could be tempted to leave financially. The Knicks can only pay him up to $5 million based on his Early Bird Rights — 175 percent of his salary this season. But another team with significant cap space can offer Smith a higher amount, and the Knicks would be powerless to stop him from leaving. And since he’s not restricted, meaning the Knicks have no control over his free agency, they won’t be able to match any offer sheets to retain him.
In favor of the Knicks keeping Smith is his close relationship with Carmelo Anthony and Mike Woodson, who helped push the 27-year-old into one of the best shooting guards in the NBA down the stretch this season. In addition, Smith loves New York City beyond the court, from being close to home to the nightlife. He’s also seen a recent spike in his sponsorship deals (for example, SK Energy).