12:31pm: An official announcement is being delayed due to the FIBA paperwork required to clear Smith, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post.
11:33am: The Knicks' offer to Smith includes a $2.5MM player option for next season, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. We heard yesterday that such an option could be a factor in Smith's decision. I don't expect him to exercise it, but it provides some security in case he underperforms or gets injured this season.
While the two sides appear to have reached an agreement, the contract has yet to be signed, adds Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
9:11am: Jeremy Lin and the Knicks will head into tonight's contest against the Hornets with the knowledge that more reinforcements are on the way. The Knicks have agreed to sign J.R. Smith, as Smith himself confirmed on his always-informative Twitter account, tweeting "New York Knicks It Is!" The team is expected to make the deal official later today.
Smith, 26, signed a $3MM contract with China's Zhejiang Golden Bulls during the NBA lockout. The deal didn't include an opt-out clause, and only allowed Smith to return to the NBA when the season ended for his CBA club. Although Smith led the league in scoring, averaging 34.4 PPG, the Golden Bulls finished the season with a 15-17 record and didn't qualify for the postseason. The team played its last regular season game on Wednesday, with Smith returning to America shortly thereafter.
In seven NBA seasons with the Hornets and Nuggets, Smith has averaged 12.5 points and 1.8 threes in 23.9 minutes per game. Smith will bring his dangerous outside shooting (career .371 3PT%) to a Knicks squad that should also have Carmelo Anthony returning soon to join Lin, Amare Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler.
The Clippers were also recruiting Smith aggressively, but the Knicks had the advantage of having more money available to offer. Smith is expected to receive a pro-rated portion of New York's mini mid-level exception, while Los Angeles could only offer him the pro-rated veteran's minimum, having used their mini MLE to sign Kenyon Martin. As Larry Coon explained yesterday, the difference between the two offers could amount to about $1.7MM.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News first reported the Knicks were closing in on a deal with Smith, while Newsday's Al Iannazzone confirmed the agreement following Smith's tweet. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the team is expected to waive Renaldo Balkman to clear a spot on the roster, though no move has been announced yet.