Already today, we've passed along word that J.R. Smith will decline his player option, but is likely to re-sign with the Knicks. There are plenty of other news items and rumors floating around the web this morning, relating to the Knicks and their Atlantic rivals, so let's round up the latest out of the division:
- After announcing his retirement yesterday, Jason Kidd told ESPN Radio (link via Marc Berman of the New York Post) that he thinks the Knicks have a "solid foundation," though the team may have to make a couple upgrades this summer.
- According to both Berman and Nate Taylor of the New York Times, Kidd will forgo the final two years and $6.18MM remaining on his contract. Assuming that's true, it's a nice break for the Knicks, considering teams often agree to buyouts with retiring players. It likely won't give New York any additional cap flexibility, since the team is still in the tax, but at the very least it will reduce that tax bill.
- Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald explores whether Shane Larkin may be a fit for the Celtics at No. 16 in this month's draft.
- Although Michael Malone was on the Sixers' wish list back when Tony DiLeo, rather than Sam Hinkie, was running the team's coaching search, John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out the Kings' hiring of Malone further diminishes Philadelphia's pool of head coach targets.
- Over at Philly.com, Michael Levien of SBNation.com is skeptical of a rumor linking the Sixers to free-agent-to-be Josh Smith, writing that he's "very confident" Philadelphia won't be the team that gives the forward a big-money, long-term contract.