Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Future of J.R. Still Up in Air

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Future of J.R. Still Up in Air

Article excerpt

It was just moments after the Knicks' season ended and J.R. Smith, who had seen a particularly disappointing finish to what had been a breakout year, sitting in his locker at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, still had a stunned look on his face, disbelieving that it was over.

But even after a tumultuous postseason, Smith was thinking clearly about his future.

"I want to retire a Knick," Smith said. "I don't want to go anywhere else. I love it. I love my teammates. I love my coaches. I was sitting in the locker room looking at my jersey after the game just knowing I don't want to be anywhere else except for in the orange and blue."

He hesitated and added, "So, we'll see."

Even in those first confusing moments, Smith knew that no matter how many times he expressed his desire to return to the Knicks and no matter how many times the Knicks stressed the importance of returning him to the team, there were no sure things.

Smith met with Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, sitting down at Amar'e Stoudemire's wedding this past week, to discuss his future with the organization.

On the court, Smith earned Sixth Man of the Year honors last season and was the Knicks' second-leading scorer at 18.1 points per game -- the second option to his long-time friend Carmelo Anthony. Both players use Creative Artists Agency and Leon Rose as agents.

Smith is a New Jersey native, still residing in the town he grew up in with his family and he spent a recent day off at the middle school he attended in Millstone, giving a speech to kids on anti- bullying. He hosts a golf tournament nearby for his foundation, and when he ventures into New York he leads late-night bicycle rides with fans who respond to his Twitter invitation.

But no matter how much he seems to fit in New York, simple math may mean he can be on his way out. …

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