J.R. Smith will decline his Knicks contract option on Tuesday, but he still hopes to return to the team on a long-term deal, according to a person familiar with the contract negotiations.
Smith’s option for next season is worth $2.4 million. By declining it, he would be eligible for a new starting salary of $2.8 million, or about $12.2 million over four years.
I'll update once I'm totally clear on the salary stuff, but my understanding right now is that the Knicks can and will offer him a 20 percent raise. New York could apparently achieve that raise by using a non-Bird exception, which wouldn't eat into the mid-level at all (thus leaving our silly offseason machinations intact). Whether Smith is worth bringing back on a (relatively small) long-term deal is another question. Given Iman Shumpert's injury and Smith's good relationship with Mike Woodson and solid play when Jeremy Lin was healthy (and his overall entertainment value), my instinct is to say yes. Of course, if other teams come calling and offer Smith more money, he's all theirs. I'll update this soon with more specifics.