JR SMITH TO THE KNICKS ACCORDING TO TWITTER & LEAGUE SOURCES
Free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith announced on Friday morning via his Twitter page that he will sign with the New York Knicks, saying "New York Knicks It Is!" Smith will likely receive the full $2.5 million exception available to the team, and Tommy Dee of TKB is reporting that the Knicks will release Renaldo Balkman to make room for J.R. after failing to free up a roster spot via trade.
Smith had been deciding between the L.A. Clippers and New York Knicks, and things got pretty aggressive in the final push for his services. John Canzano of The Oregonian reports that after Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro offered the starting SG job to Smith via text message, the Knicks made sure the free agent sharpshooter never got on the plane to L.A.
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.
Now the mercurial guard will join up with Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as the Knicks try to sustain their red-hot charge into the heart of the Eastern Conference playoff race, and joins an offense that will encourage him to launch three-point shots early and often. SOURCE
The Knicks are in negotiations to sign Smith, the free agent shooting guard who was Carmelo Anthony’s teammate in Denver before signing with a Chinese club during the NBA lockout.
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Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, who also represents Anthony, did not return calls Thursday. Rose and Garden chairman James Dolan met Wednesday following the Knicks’ win over Sacramento to discuss Smith’s future, the Daily News has learned.
It is believed that Smith, who has also attracted the interest of the L.A. Clippers, would receive the Knicks’ $2.5 million exception if the Freehold, N.J., product signs with them.
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In order to add Smith, an explosive scorer but sometimes erratic player, the Knicks would have to release someone. If Smith had come two weeks ago, Lin could have very well been the player cut since his contract was nonguaranteed.
Smith, 26, just finished a 30-game stint in China.
With Linsanity, the Knicks will likely release someone from the group of Mike Bibby, Renaldo Balkman and even Toney Douglas. The deciding factor could be the condition of Baron Davis, who has yet to play this season due to a back injury. If Davis’ health remains in question, the Knicks may want to keep an extra point guard.
Anthony has publicly endorsed the signing and behind the scenes has lobbied the club behind the scenes to add the athletic Smith.
Smith was involved in the brawl between the Knicks and Nuggets in December of 2006 that began when Knicks guard Mardy Collins fouled him from behind.