Report: Chris Paul Recruiting JR Smith to the Clippers

by February 13, 2012

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers are one of the teams aggressively pursuing JR Smith’s services – Smith is expected to leave China this week – and according to an ESPN report, point guard Chris Paul is leading the charge: “The Clippers were interested in Smith even before the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups last week, believing they could use more offensive firepower off the bench. That was going to be a harder sell to Smith, who is looking for a larger role. Now, they can offer Smith the opportunity to start. Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source. The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets. Also like Billups and Martin, who are both represented by agent Andy Miller, Paul and Smith both are represented by agent Leon Rose. That would seem like an advantage, except for the fact that Rose also represents New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who said this week he’d be happy to have his former Nuggets teammate join him in New York. ‘Yeah, I think so, he’s one of those type of players,’ Anthony told a small group of reporters after the Knicks’ win over the Nets last weekend. ‘If it happens, it happens and I’ll be happy.’ The Knicks are the presumed favorite to land Smith because they can offer him both a large role on the team, and their pro-rated $2.5 million mini mid-level exception. Exceptions are only pro-rated after Feb. 10, so Smith wouldn’t be losing much. Most of the other teams reportedly interested in him, like the Lakers or Clippers, can only offer him a veteran minimum contract, which would be pro-rated from the beginning of the season.”