J.R. Smith agrees to four-year deal with Knicks
J.R. Smith will return to the Knicks on a four-year deal, according to his agent, Leon Rose.
The reigning Sixth Man of the Year will receive a reported $24.7 million over the length of the contract. The signing was first reported by the New York Daily News.
A late acquisition in the lockout-shortened season of 2011-12, Smith has averaged 16.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a member of the Knicks. Under coach Mike Brown’s tutelage, Smith had one of the best seasons of his career in 2012-13, averaging a career-high 18.1 points en route to the Sixth Man award.
Smith’s signing comes days after the Knicks acquired Andrea Bargnani in a trade with the Raptors. Both moves also come in the wake of the deal that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the crosstown rival Nets, a fact which the Point Forward’s Ben Golliver says was probably not lost on the Knicks.
Grade: B. A horrible postseason aside (Smith shot just 33 percent from the floor, 27 percent from deep as the Knicks fell to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference semis), Smith was an integral part of a Knicks team that won 54 games and captured its first division title since 1994. Just 27 years old, he displayed greatly improved decision-making last season, compiling a career-best turnover percentage and averaging more free throw attempts than ever before.
One knock against this deal: Smith’s contract smudges an otherwise clean cap sheet in ’15-16. The Knicks’ Big Three (Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and yes, Amar’e Stoudemire) all have deals that conclude after the 2015 season. As it stands, Smith will be the only Knick with a guaranteed contract in the summer of 2015. This isn’t a huge deal, but it could hurt the Knicks’ flexibility if they’re looking to reboot with a big free-agent signing.