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.
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