J.R. Smith to decline Knicks' option and become free agent, according to report

Andy Lyons

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year will decline a player option and test free agency.

J.R. Smith, the 2012-13 NBA Sixth Man of the Year and an integral part of the New York Knicks offense, will decline his $2.9 million player option and become a free agent, reports Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York.

Smith signed a cheap two-year deal with a player option as a free agent in 2012. While he has always been a capable scorer, he clashed with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl and is not known as a consistent defender. He also has a tendency to be inefficient with his heavy volume of shots, but played quite well for New York until the postseason.

Zwerling also reports, via unnamed sources, that Smith will likely remain with the Knicks as a free agent. It's unclear how much New York will be willing to offer him over the $2.9 million he was destined to make.

Due to Jason Kidd's announced retirement, the remaining guards on the Knicks' roster are Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. Pablo Prigioni will be a restricted free agent if the Knicks extend a nominal qualifying offer. Even before accounting for Smith or Prigioni, the Knicks are well over the salary cap.

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