JR Smith’s New Deal With Knicks Only for Three Years Not Four

by July 17, 2013

News of JR Smith needing knee surgery just four days after inking a four-year, $24.7 million contract had everyone shaking their heads once again at the New York Knicks’ front-office. The team says they knew Smith would need to go under the knife, and besides, the new deal is shorter than what was initially reported. Per the NY Times: “Smith’s deal covers a maximum of three years, with a total value of $17.95 million, not the four years and $24.5 million that was widely reported, last week. The precise terms were confirmed Tuesday by a rival team executive and a second person with access to the contract. Despite the intense scrutiny of the deal, Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald made no attempt to correct the erroneous reports during a 16-minute conference call with reporters Tuesday. The contract calls for Smith to make $5.57 million next season and $5.98 million in 2014-15, with a third-year player option at $6.4 million. It is still a considerable commitment for a player with a checkered career and now a surgically repaired left knee. But Grunwald betrayed no concern on Tuesday. ‘We’re pretty comfortable that this is something that’s fixable and won’t present any problems, in certainly the foreseeable future, over the next four years or whatever,’ he said. ‘We’re O.K. with that.’ Smith had two procedures Monday, one to repair unspecified damage to his patella tendon and another to deal with a tear of the lateral meniscus. The patella tendon is the more serious of the two and will require an estimated 12 to 16 weeks of recovery — a timeline that could wipe out training camp and possibly the first week of the regular season. Opening night is scheduled for Oct. 29, at the 15-week mark of Smith’s recovery. ‘We’re hopeful that he’ll be ready by time the regular season rolls around,’ Grunwald said, a sentiment he repeated many times. […] Had Smith signed elsewhere, his new team surely would have discovered the knee injury during his physical examination and could have withdrawn the offer. But most teams are reluctant to negate a signed contract. As it turned out, Smith never received a more lucrative offer and instead signed with the one team that already knew he was headed for surgery. Smith did initially accept a 4-year offer from the Knicks – the maximum permitted – in early July, his agent Leon Rose clarified Tuesday night. But Smith ultimately opted for the shorter deal so that he could become a free agent again in 2015, and with full ‘Bird’ rights, which entitle him to a much larger contract, Rose said.”