The New York Knicks are closing in on agreeing to a contract with free-agent shooting guard J.R. Smith, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. If the Knicks do eventually seal the deal, they will have beaten out the Los Angeles Clippers and several other teams for his services.
It remains unclear how much Smith will receive, but to make it happen, the Knicks will have to release or buy out one player, Isola reports. The deadline for non-guaranteed contracts to become guaranteed has passed, so a buyout is the likely route. Possible candidates include Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan. They surely do not include Jeremy Lin, who was on the chopping block before his stunning turnaround.
Smith played for the Denver Nuggets last year before signing a free-agent contract to play in China. The Chinese Basketball Association prohibits players from leaving their contracts to return to the NBA midway through the season, but Smith's team in China was just eliminated from playoff contention.