New York Post J.R. Smith has accepted the terms of a new 4-year, $24.7 million contract this morning, his agent Leon Rose told The Post. Smith, who was seeking a significantly higher offer elsewhere, will make roughly $6 million per year, starting at the league’s average salary of $5.75M. It was the most the Knicks can offer under the early-bird rights rules since Smith played only two seasons for the Knicks. Smith will have a player opt-out after the third year. It is unclear what role Smith will play this season but the Sixth Man of the Year sat down with coach Mike Woodson over the weekend at Amare’s Stoudemire’s wedding bash to talk about it. Smith could conceivably start next season – something he wished for last year. Earl Smith, his father, told The Post last night that his son still could receive a higher offer elsewhere, but his agent felt the market wasn’t there for Smith to receive what he was looking for – a $10 million per year offer. Smith would’ve left the Knicks if he received either a 3-year, $30 million offer or a four-year, $36M offer but his market value wasn’t that high after a poor playoff in which he was suspended one game for elbowing Jason Terry and shot 33 percent. The Knicks conceivably could have a starting lineup of Raymond Felton, Smith, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. “I’m diehard Knick fan, but I want to see my son get justice,’’ Earl Smith told The Post last night. “We know the Knicks only have so much money because of early bird rights. But if some team offers a crazy amount of money, like $10 million per, he’ll probably go there. We’ll see what happens. He’s not signing yet.’’ Two of his suitors, Houston and Dallas, were waiting to see if they landed Dwight Howard before making an offer for Smith Friday. But Howard, according to a report, may not make up his mind until after the weekend. The Rockets were considering a four-year package for Smith. There is no state income tax in either Texas city.
The reigning NBA Sixth Man Of The Year J.R. Smith has re-signed with the New York Knicks, in what is essentially a four-year $25 million dollar contract, if he picks up his player option for the fourth year (likely, unless he consistently becomes the player he was down the stretch last season. As a Knicks fan, I enjoy having J.R. Smith on the team, because good or bad at least he is steady entertainment. The contract is not what Smith had hoped for, and I think it’s a good contract for the Knicks, who I have not praised often this offseason. The problem with J.R. will always be consistency. He can look like an MVP candidate one night, and he can look like he does not belong on a basketball court the next, he can have an 2-15 game and then hit a fall away game winner as time expires. He will always be, at worst, an irrational confidence scorer off of the bench who deserves a heat check every night. If he hits his first three shots, look out, the next ten could be going in. If he misses, you pull him, and replace him with a steadier player. The Knicks need to keep him out of the clubs and get him focused on basketball, he needs to stay motivated, and now that he has more long term financial security that may be difficult. I would rather pay Smith on a year-to-year basis, and I hope that he was not motivated by his contract year in 2012-2013, when he was the Sixth Man of the Year. He needs motivation, consistency, and has to play hard every single night. If he could ever possess these attributes on a regular basis, the sky would be the limit for Smith, but there is no evidence that he can. I hope that Smith has matured some with age, and I am glad to have him back on the Knicks, at worst it makes the team more entertaining night-in and night-out. Welcome back, J.R.
UPDATE: The Knicks also reached a deal to bring back backup point guard Pablo Prigioni today. This is huge. Prigioni will likely become the primary backup point guard this season following the retirement of Jason Kidd, he got better as the 2012-2013 season went on and saw his minutes increase significantly down the stretch where he proved just how valuable he can be. Welcome back, Pablo!