NBA Rumors Round-Up
NBA Rumors: Knicks Trying to Trade J.R. Smith?
Are the Knicks trying to trade J.R. Smith | Emmanuel Mudiay leaving China early | Reggie Jackson helping stock
Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.
Regarding the idea of moving J.R. Smith, the Knicks have continued to discuss internally their options to deal him. Have done so since July
While the Knicks may want to trade J.R. Smith, that’s likely easier said than done since he doesn’t have much trade value at this point. As I recently covered in my weekly chat, teams aren’t exactly lining up to acquire Smith.
Unless the Knicks want to dump Smith and not get much back in return, it’s unlikely he will be traded. Smith is making $5,982,375 this year and has a $6,399,750 player option for next year, and many teams don’t want to touch that contract.
Throw in the fact that he’s viewed as a negative locker room presence by many executives and it’ll be difficult for New York to get anything of value back in a Smith deal.
Right now, Smith is only averaging 9.6 points and his PER is 12 (the league average is 15), so in order for him to improve his trade value he’s really going to have to step up and start putting up better numbers.
Heaving up last-second shots that only hit the backboard when the final play wasn’t called for him won’t help.
His fast start is enough to spark speculation from front offices that Mudiay will leave before the regular season ends in mid-February to keep him healthy and keep his Draft standing high — and keep him from the prying eyes of NBA scouts.
“They could,” an executive said of the decision to shut down that Mudiay’s inner-circle may face. “They could for sure.”
Said an NBA general manager: “I could see, if his stock is raised, him saying, ‘I’m checking out.’ I could see that. Does he do it? I don’t know. But look what happened with [Dante] Exum last year. It didn’t really hurt him, did it? There’s an argument to be made that [Mudiay] doesn’t have to do anything.”
Mudiay decided to go overseas rather than play in the NCAA, and he’s currently playing for the Guangdong Tigers in Dongguan, China.
He has been doing well in the early stages of the season, starting for the team and averaging 19 points, 7.0 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals, according to Asia-Basket.com. He also had a triple-double last week, putting up 22 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in a win (highlights of which can be viewed here).
A number of NBA executives have speculated that Mudiay may leave China soon and spend the rest of the season preparing for the NBA’s pre-draft process, as Dante Exum did last year once his high school career ended in Australia. Mudiay has shown what he can do against professional competition, so leaving now on a high note could help his stock and also remove the risk of injury.
As one general manager told Howard-Cooper, Exum’s lack of film against top competition didn’t hurt him. If anything, it helped him because talent evaluators were basing his draft stock entirely on his potential, measurements and athleticism while many of the college players had been under the microscope for the entire year and had their game picked apart. Exum, of course, ended up being the fifth overall pick in the draft by the Utah Jazz.
Mudiay is expected to be the first point guard selected in the 2015 NBA Draft, and one of the top picks overall. Standing at 6’5 with a ton of talent, Mudiay has the size and skills to be an NBA point guard. Now that he has proven that with success in China, leaving early and preparing for the draft might be the right move for him.
For (Thunder guard Reggie) Jackson, 24, the transformation from sixth man to an impact starter is validating everything that NBA executives and coaches suspected: He could be a star. Jackson turned down a lucrative, rookie contract extension in October, and he’s determined to be a starter in the NBA.
He’s generating a market value that’ll test the Thunder’s resolve in restricted free agency this summer. Every night, executives examine Jackson, and his offer sheet possibilities are climbing into the $13 million to $14 million range. As one Eastern Conference executive told Yahoo Sports: “He’s a bigger Eric Bledsoe – and probably better.”
The Thunder and Reggie Jackson didn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension by the Oct. 31 deadline, so the point guard will be a restricted free agent next offseason.
He has helped his stock in the early stages of the 2014-15 NBA season, stepping up in the absence of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to produce impressive stats. He has helped the Thunder stay competitive, averaging 22.4 points, 8.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds.
He has shown that he can be a starting-caliber guard in the NBA, so don’t be surprised if a number of teams pursue him next offseason. Teams know that the Thunder can only spend so much money, so making a lucrative offer sheet to Jackson in the $13-14 million range could pry him loose.
Jackson is 24 years old, so his best basketball is likely still ahead of him. If a team wants to gamble on him and make him their point guard of the future, it’s possible OKC could be priced out of keeping him.
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