New York Knicks bringing back J.R. Smith on four-year deal
The deal is the most the Knicks could offer Smith via the Bird provision, which allows teams to offer average player salary with annual raises of 7.5 percent. It doubles Smith’s salary from $2.8 million last year, with the player now expected to earn around $6 million per season.
The Detroit Lions, Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks reportedly among those teams who had shown interest in Smith since free agency began on July 1. But the N.J. native opted to stay in New York, close to his family.
Smith was a key part of the Knicks’ success as they claimed the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Knicks lost to the Indiana Pacers in the conference semifinals.
The Knicks would have found it hard to replace Smith’s production, due to financial limitations to their payroll in free agency, which is above the luxury tax for next season. So, bringing him back was the most feasible and best option for the Knicks to address the shooting guard spot.
Smith, 27, was the second leading scorer on the Knicks averaging 18.2 points a game and shot 42.2 percent overall, 35.6 percent from three
The 27-year-old Smith averaged 18 points, five rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals while coming off the bench for the Knicks for all 80 games last season. He was the 2012-13 Sixth Man of the Year, and he shot 42.2 percent overall and 35.6 percent from the 3-pointer range. The nine-year Smith also led all league reserves in scoring, 30-point games (seven) and 20-point efforts (29). Meanwhile, Smith’s point total ranked second to NBA scoring champ Carmelo Anthony among members of the Atlantic Division champion squad of the Knicks.
The Knicks also retained another guard from their 2012-2013 squad on Thursday, after agreeing to terms on a three-year, $6 million deal with Pablo Prigioni, his agent reporting that final year is partially guaranteed and contains a team option.
The Argentinian guard Prigioni was a 35-year-old NBA rookie last season, averaging 3.5 points, 3.0 assists and 1.8 rebounds while appearing in 78 games for the Knicks.