Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

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Knicks roster taking shape, but work needs to be done

Steve Novak (16) and J.R. Smith (8) of

Steve Novak (16) and J.R. Smith (8) of the New York Knicks chest bump after Novak hits a three pointer at the end of the first quarter. (March 28, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

It was a busy day yesterday for the Knicks as they came to terms with three players – Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and J.R. Smith.

These deals can't be official until tomorrow, when the NBA moratorium for signing or trading players is over.

The Smith agreement was reached well after midnight on the East Coast. He will sign a two-year deal, starting at $2.8 million for the upcoming season. The second year is his option.

"I have to decided to re-sign with the Knicks,” Smith said in a statement through his agency CAA. “I just felt that, despite my other options, New York is the best situation for me. Coach Woodson showed a lot of faith and trust in me last season, as did Mr. Dolan and the organization. My teammates are great to play with and the New York fans are the best. I can't wait to get started."

Smith averaged 12.5 points for the Knicks last season, mostly as a sixth man. But he’s expected to be the Knicks starting shooting guard this season unless they can acquire one.

Landry Fields started most of last season, but he received a three-year, $18.7 million offer sheet from the Toronto Raptors that the Knicks likely won’t match. Also, Iman Shumpert is out for at least the first two months of the season following surgery to repair a torn ACL. So it’s Smith’s job.

There’s still work to be done. With these three moves, the Knicks will have nine players with guaranteed deals. A tenth is expected to be Jeremy Lin when the Knicks match Houston’s four-year, $28.8 million offer for him.

Novak and Smith were expected to be back and Camby took some maneuvering, but the Knicks pursued the veteran center hard and were willing to give up a lot in a sign-and-trade to bring him back to New York.

They sent Houston Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, two second-round picks and cash for Camby. He’ll get a three-year, $13.2 million contract. The first two years will pay him $10 million and the last is partially guaranteed.
 

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