DENVER, CO - APRIL 25: J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Smith is eligible to return to the NBA on Wednesday, February 15.
The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to add Denver Nuggets at a rapid pace. To fill the void left by the ACL injury of guard Chauncey Billups, who is out for the season, the Clippers are among the teams interested in free agent guard J.R. Smith, whose season concludes in China this week.
Smith will be eligible to return to the NBA on Wednesday, and the Clippers have shown interest, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA. "Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source," Shelburne wrote. "The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets."
Smith, 26, has averaged 12.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.9 steals in 23.9 minutes per game in his seven NBA seasons, and is a career 37.1% three-point shooter. Randy Foye has started at shooting guard in place of Billups for the Clippers in the last three games, and has averaged 12.3 points per game so far.
As Shelburne also noted, the New York Knicks are also interested in Smith, and can offer roughly $1.5 million more than the Clippers, so it may take some recruiting from Paul and Billups to get Smith in Los Angeles.
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