Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti has his sights set on J.R. Smith. Presti had signed C.J. Miles to a four-year $15 million deal, a number that many thought was too high for the Jazz to match. But Utah did just that, and now Oklahoma City is back on the market looking to address their need at shooting guard.
But even more than the 6-6 guard/forward Miles, Smith fits the mold that Presti is looking to fill.
The ideal candidate appears to be a younger player, perhaps no older than 26, who is athletic, has good size, good upside and either is a gritty defender or skilled perimeter shooter.
The biggest question here is how much will Oklahoma City throw at J.R. The Nuggets have said that they’re going to match a deal offered to him, but they probably expect that to be in the $3 million per year range, similar to the three-year, $9 million deal that Kelenna Azubuike just signed in Golden State.
Presti is adamant about keeping OKC’s long-term cap space, which would limit any deal with Smith to a $4-5 million per year ceiling.
But with Denver trying to get under the luxury tax (see: ridiculous Marcus Camby trade), might they let J.R. walk if the pricetag is $1-2 million more than they’d like to pay?