We’re just two days away from the NBA Draft, so much of the basketball world is focused on the 60 players who will hear their names called by commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver Thursday night in Brooklyn.
But the beginning of free agency is also right around the corner, and the Phoenix Suns will be on the hunt for talent on that front as well.
According to Newsday basketball writer Al Iannazzone, the Suns might have their eye on a high-scoring two-guard.
But a team that could make a hard push J.R. Smith is the Suns, I've heard.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) June 25, 2013
Smith declined a player option with the Knicks earlier this month, which will make him an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Iannazzone did write Monday that the Knicks would still like to re-sign Smith once he hits the open market, and could do so at about $5 million per season for at least two years — a substantial raise from the $2.9 million he would have made had he exercised his option.
Smith, a nine-year veteran, is coming off his best season as a pro. In 80 games off the Knicks’ bench, the 6-foot-6 guard averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game and won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award for the first time in his career.
Smith would fill a need for the Suns, who lacked punch from their two-guard position in 2012-13 — a season in which they won just 25 games and ranked 21st in the league in scoring at 95.2 points per game.