Father says J.R. Smith still weighing options
With the New York Knicks working feverishly to complete a contract agreement with free-agent guard J.R. Smith, Smith's father, Earl, said Wednesday night that his son was still weighing his options and is expected to make a decision by Friday.
NEW YORK -- With the New York Knicks working feverishly to complete a contract agreement with free-agent guard J.R. Smith, Smith's father, Earl, said Wednesday night that his son was still weighing his options and is expected to make a decision by Friday.
"It's not about who is offering, but it's about where he's going to be comfortable," Earl Smith Sr. said in a phone interview.
A league source confirmed the Knicks were working "all day" Wednesday to try to finalize a contract for Smith, but nothing was agreed upon as of Wednesday night.
Both Yahoo! Sports and the New York Daily News reported the Knicks were finalizing details on a contract for Smith. The New York Daily News reported that Smith and the Knicks were closing in on a contract worth $24 million over four years.
Signings can't become official until the league-wide moratorium is lifted on July 10.
Smith Sr. said J.R. Smith has drawn interest from other teams. A league source said Milwaukee, Detroit and Dallas were among those to show interest in Smith earlier in the week.
The Bucks reportedly made an offer to swingman O.J. Mayo, which would, in theory, rule Smith out of their plans. All three teams are under the salary cap and can make stronger offers than the Knicks.
The Knicks can offer Smith a contract starting at approximately $5.5 million per season with standard raises over four years, using the Early Bird exception.
Another option for the Knicks would be to sign Smith to a two-year contract with an option for the second season. This would give them Smith's full Bird Rights if the guard decided to opt out next summer.
A league source said Wednesday that retaining Smith remained the Knicks' top offseason priority.
One person close to Smith believes that, if all offers are equal, the 2012-13 Sixth Man Award winner will choose to return to New York.
Smith has a strong relationship with coach Mike Woodson, and the Freehold, N.J., product enjoys playing close to his family.
The 27-year-old averaged 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season. He played an integral role in the Knicks' regular-season success but struggled mightily in the playoffs, making just 33 percent of his field goals.
The Knicks also hope to retain restricted free agents Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland. New York extended qualifying offers to both players and will have the opportunity to match any offer either Copeland or Prigioni get on the open market.
A league source told ESPN's Marc Stein the Indiana Pacers have made an offer to Copeland. Another league source told ESPNNewYork's Jared Zwerling the Los Angeles Lakers have made an offer to the 29-year-old.
The Knicks have made a qualifying offer to Copeland worth $988,872. If another team offers Copeland more money, the Knicks could use all or part of their $3.1 million mini mid-level exception to match the offer. They could also use part of their mini mid-level exception to match an offer to the 36-year-old Prigioni.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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