As expected, J.R. Smith won't opt in with Knicks

J.R. Smith looks on in the first quarter

J.R. Smith looks on in the first quarter of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. (May 5, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

J.R. Smith's agent notified the Knicks by Tuesday's deadline that he will not opt in at $2.9 million for next season, as expected.

Smith will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Knicks could give him the average salary, starting at roughly $5 million. They could lose Smith if another team offers more and a chance at a starting spot.

The Knicks weren't expecting Smith to opt in after the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year averaged career highs of 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds this past season. But the 27-year-old Smith, who is from New Jersey, likes playing close to home and has a good relationship with coach Mike Woodson. Also, Smith's younger brother Chris will play on the Knicks' summer league team.

The Knicks extended a qualifying offer to Chris Copeland yesterday, which will make him a restricted free agent on July 1.

The offer for roughly $988,000 is just a formality. The Knicks can match any offers Copeland receives in free agency up to the $3.1 million mini-midlevel exception.

The Knicks also are expected to give Pablo Prigioni a qualifying offer by June 30.
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns Newsday.

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