The Knicks made re-signing J.R. Smith their top offseason priority and it appears as though they’ve sealed the deal.
The New York Daily News reported Thursday morning that the two sides had agreed to a four-year, $24 million contract to keep Smith with the Knicks.
Deals cannot be officially signed until July 10.
Smith likely could have received a larger deal from another team due to the Knicks’ salary cap restrictions, but he had always expressed interest in staying in New York.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald wouldn’t comment on retaining any specific players at the end of the season, including Smith.
“Like I said before, I think it’s best for us to maintain some continuity,” said Grunwald when asked about re-signing Smith at the team’s end of season press conference. “The same group, the same core group together, but I’m not going to comment on any individual player because were not finished with our evaluation.”
Smith, 27, won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 2012-13 and had arguably the best season of his career despite coming off the bench. He averaged 18.1 points per game — the highest total of his career — and 5.3 rebounds per game — also a career best.
But it was during the playoffs when questions about re-signing him bubbled up to the surface. He shot just 33.1 percent from the field and averaged 14.3 points per game. He was also suspended for Game 4 after elbowing Jason Terry during the opening round against the Celtics. From the next game on, he shot 34-of-117 (29 percent) from the field and 13-of-50 (26 percent) from 3-point range.
Smith is a native of Freehold, N.J., about an hour outside the city, and enjoyed having friends and family be able to see him play on a regular basis.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.