Taking a break from the Carmelo Anthony talks to talk about the most talented and yet the most wreckless Denver Nugget and that is JR Smith.
Smith provided a lot of highlights and a lot of frustrations for his coach, teammates and the fans and it sounds like the Nuggets have had enough. Chris Tomasson at FanHouse is reporting that Smith is on the trade block. Is it a ploy to get Carmelo Anthony to sign the extension, is it a sign of rebuilding or is it time for the Nuggets to part ways with one of their headaches?
Anytime Smith took the floor, he was the most talented basketball player in the gym. He was a gifted athlete with an ability to hit incredible shots and give a show to the fans, but he also depended too much on making the highlights reel than making the smart pass. Opponents tended to show their frustration with Smith’s disgrace for the game and running up the score. He paid the price in 2006 when him and Nate Robinson started the infamous Knicks/Nuggets Brawl at Madison Square Garden. He even has had run-ins with his teammates, upsetting Kenyon Martin with a ill-advised April Fools joke and calling his teammates selfish in the playoffs.
He also had problems off the court, running a stop sign which ended up costing him his friend’s life and pouring beer on a girl at the bar. So it seems about the time for the Nuggets cut ties with the inconsistent 24-year-old.
Some of the Nuggets brass have been wanting to move Smith in past due to his problems and their was no question he wasn’t a favorite of coach George Karl. However, the Nuggets former general manager Mark Warkentien was a fan of Smith – especially after signing off on the extremely lopsided trade to get him. But now that Warkentien is no longer with the club moving Smith may be much easier, at least on the Nuggets part.
One deal that seems unlikely, but would help the Nuggets would be packaging Smith and Martin and trading them
to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton.
Prince has an expiring contract and is versatile enough to guard four positions, while Hamilton knows how to win and is a pros-pro. The duo missed a combined 69 games last season, but before that Prince hasn’t missed a game in six seasons. And unlike Smith, Hamilton is about as consistent as they come.
The downside of the trade would be Hamilton’s extremely painful contract which would pay $12.65 million each of the next three seasons.
Another idea would be trading Smith to get a big man. The list of bigs that have similar contracts are Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop, Jason Maxiell, Andris Biedrins (if Renaldo Balkman was included), Jeff Foster, Darius Songaila, Antonio McDyess and Joel Pryzbilla.
Foster and Biedrins have each been rumored with the Nuggets.
Teams like Cleveland and New Orleans would be interested in the shooting guard. The Cavaliers tried to sign him a few years ago and might be interested in trying his services again and the Hornets may see adding Smith as a last effort in keeping Chris Paul in New Orleans.
ANSWER: Dwight Howard (1st), Shaun Livingston (4th), Robert Swift (12th), Sebastian Telfair (13th), Al Jefferson (15th), Josh Smith (17th), JR Smith (18th) and Dorell Wright (19th). With the 20th pick the Nuggets selected Jameer Nelson and traded him to the Orlando Magic.
Topics: Andris Biedrins, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, George Karl, Golden State Warriors, Hornets, Jason Maxiell, Jeff Foster, JR Smith, Kenyon Martin, New Orleans, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince