The Knicks and J.R. Smith have come to terms on a new contract that will pay the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year $24.7 million over the next four years.
The deal was the maximum the Knicks could offer Smith, who also considered offers from the Bucks, Pistons and Mavericks. According to Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, the deal has a player option on the fourth and final year.
With repeated injuries to Amar’e Stoudemire, Smith emerged as the second scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony and averaged 18 points and 5 rebounds. Smith’s strong played continued early in the playoffs, but dipped mightily following a one-game suspension for elbowing Celtics guard Jason Terry in game three of New York’s opening playoff series. Smith would go on to average just 33% shooting from the field in route to the 4-2 series loss to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.
Smith lead all players in the NBA with points off the bench last season. The deal is expected to become official on July 10.
As erratic as JR was during the playoffs (and the first half of the season), I’m very happy he’s returning. There is no other player on the market that could make up his output for the money. JR is not meant to be a second scoring option player, and if we can just get the rest of the team healthy (namely Stat), Smith should be able to have another productive season. I never much doubted he’d leave due to his roots in New Jersey and love for Coach Woodson, but I hope his playoff performance has left a sour taste in his mouth and pushes him to prove all the naysayers wrong this coming year.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate!