UPDATE: The Indiana Pacers are also front runners for the same financial reasons as the Wolves. They could be a more attractive landing spot in Smith’s eyes because they have a better chance of making the playoffs. Conversely, it is possible the Wolves are dangling a starting spot which is something Indiana most likely is not doing.

Sources say the Timberwolves could be pursuing J.R. Smith when he is done playing in China. They are currently battling the Lakers, Clippers and Knicks for his services (per HoopsWorld.com). The earliest Smith could return to the NBA is February 16th and latest is the 23rd which is slightly before the All-Star game (the reason behind these dates is dependent on his contract with the CBA and clearance with FIBA). Minnesota has a lot to offer that interests Smith. The first being that they are under the cap and, unlike most teams, don’t have to offer him a prorated “player exception” and can offer him the remaining of their cap roughly $1.19 Million. The prorated amount at this moment is roughly $1.12 Million and dropping by over $30,000 per game. The second reason the Wolves may interest Smith is that they have cap flexibility next season. Smith is looking to sign a long term deal and re-signing with any of the other 3 teams is not really an option, except for another 1 year deal.

Smith is a career 43% shooter from the field and 37% from behind the 3 point line. The Wolves need a true shooting guard for defensive purposes and someone who can shoot from the perimeter. However, Smith carries along some baggage, most notably, his sister who got in two fights while in the stands in China. He also can be a toxic locker room pressence and Kahn and Adelman may not want him around with such young players.

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