The New York Knicks and reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith have reached an agreement on a four-year contract worth approximately $24.5 million, according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News and Howard Beck of the New York Times. The exact value of the deal will be determined after the July Moratorium, but Beck notes that Smith will received the maximum amount allowed using his early-Bird rights under the rules of the CBA. The fourth year of the contract will be a player option.
Smith declined his player option on the back end of the two-year deal he signed with the Knicks in 2012 to become a free agent this summer, and the decision paid off handsomely for the 27-year-old gunner. His new deal with the Knicks puts him on par with the contract Kyle Korver signed with the Hawks, and he will nearly double his NBA earnings if he stays for the full four years.
Seth Rosenthal of Posting and Toasting points out that the Knicks didn't lose any flexibility this summer by signing Smith to a new deal, although the four-year commitment may still be a bit problematic for the long term:
Two years would have made more sense alongside the Knicks' decision to deal forAndrea Bargnani (and a team option would have been nice), but I guess four years is what it took. Remember that, while this is the most the Knicks could pay J.R. (and the most years), it is excepted from their salary cap figure this year because the Knicks owned Smith's early Bird rights. The money being given to J.R. now could not have been given to someone else.
Will this gamble pay off for the Knicks?