On Wednesday, J.R. Smith will be eligible to sign on with an NBA team once his Chinese team's season ends and the Los Angeles Clippers plan to be right in there with elbows up trying to snag him, a source tells ESPN Los Angeles.
The season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups last week upped an interest in Smith that already existed for the Clips, the source tells the site.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul played with Smith for two seasons on the New Orleans Hornets and he's now "taken a lead role in recruiting Smith," the source tells the site. The pair also share an agent, Leon Rose, ESPN points out.
The site notes that the New York 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." If Smith ends up there, he'd be reuniting with Carmelo Anthony, who he played with while they both were employed by the Denver Nuggets.
Other teams that may be interested in adding Smith include the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.