Today the New York Knicks announced they are officially bringing back and have re-signed reigning Sixth Man of the Year Award winner J.R. Smith, look who was a free-agent and only the third player in franchise history to win the award after averaging a career-high 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 80 games off the bench for the Knicks last season.
“Re-signing J.R. was one of our primary goals this offseason and we are thrilled to have him back,” Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement released by the team. “He made great strides this past season with his consistent play off the bench for us, and we look forward to his continued growth.”
Terms of the deal where not released, but Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, said last week that Smith had agreed to a four-year, $24.7 million deal. That’s the maximum amount the Knicks could give Smith and was very well deserved for the usually troubled player, who’s changed a lot around since joining the Knicks last season after several years in New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Denver.
Playing on a one-year deal last season the Freehold, NJ-native’s career averages of 13.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists jumped by 5.1 points, .5 rebounds and .6 assists to help him capture the Sixth Man and be a huge part in helping the Knicks capture their first division title since 1994, as well as make it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
With Smith now no longer having much of a chip on his shoulder like he did last year it will be interesting to see if he can continue to improve on his great season or go back to his usual troubling ways of poor shooting that derail his game like they did last postseason, after a moment of lost composure against the stalwart Indiana Pacers defense resulted in a suspension that derailed his game at the time and sent him into a shooting spiral at absolutly the worst time to for a team in desperate need of the regular offensive firepower that he brings when he is on. We shall just have to wait to see what happens.