J.R. Smith, who was signed by the New York Knicks after spending the first half of the NBA season exiled in China, will likely remain with the Knicks for multiple years following this one. Smith will forego his player option for $2.5 million next year, hoping instead to to sign a long-term deal to stay in New York.
JR Smith will decline Knicks option but intends to re-sign for longer term w/NY, source says. Story posting soon.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) June 25, 2012
Smith averaged 12.5 points per game in just under 28 minutes per contest in 35 regular-season games for the Knicks last season. He signed a two-year deal upon returning from China in February, but was given a player option for 2012-13. Instead of taking that option, he will likely sign a long-term deal with the Knicks.
The Knicks do not have Smith's Bird rights, meaning they can only sign him with one of two exceptions. If Smith goes for it, they can sign him to their Non-Bird Exception, with the first year starting at a maximum of $2.8 million per season. If Smith wants more, though, they would have to dip into their mid-level exception to keep him.