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Knicks, Clippers Engage In Cold War Tactics To Land J.R. Smith

The Oregonian's John Canzano has a fun little piece assessing the battle between the L.A. Clippers and New York Knicks to acquire the services of freed hostage two-guard J.R. Smith. After Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro purportedly offered Smith the starting two-guard position with L.A. (via text message), the Knicks got a little stalker-y.

Things got so interesting Thursday that Smith hopped a plane from China to LAX, arriving at the airport in the late afternoon, where he was intercepted, his camp said, by a representative for the Knicks.

Anyone else picturing Allan Houston at the international terminal at LAX holding a sign that reads "Smitty"?

It appears that the Knicks have indeed won the Smithstakes, as all reports indicate the gunner will sign with New York sometime on Friday, soaking up the team's $2.5 million room exception, granted because the club was at one point under the salary cap. The room exception is a funny little thing, aimed at erasing an advantage for teams that don't go under the cap during an offseason, who can use one of the two mid-level exceptions (depending on their proximity to the luxury tax threshold). It seems to have worked for the Knicks this season.

(Smith just confirmed via Twitter that he will sign with New York.)