The deal could be completed by Thursday, reports The New York Daily News. Smith is expected to receive the “Average Player Salary Exception” which could amount to $24 million over four seasons.
According to the Daily News report, the New York Knicks and Smith are finalizing a contract extension that will keep the shooting guard with the club until 2017.
Smith's signing assures the Knicks of having their top five players under contract next season — Smith, Carmelo Anthony, Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler. Also, according to a basketball site in Argentina, the Knicks have offered Pablo Prigioni a two-year contract extension.
A person who spoke to the 35-year-old free agent point guard on Wednesday told The News that Prigioni “hopes” a deal is completed “real soon.” Prigioni is a priority because Jason Kidd retired, leaving Felton as the team’s only point guard under contract.
The 27-year-old Smith averaged a career-best 18.1 points last season in 80 games, all as a reserve, and it became the Knicks’ focus this summer to re-sign him.
For months, Smith had said his desire was to return to the Knicks. The former New Jersey prep star also had two influential power brokers in his corner: Garden Chairman James Dolan and Anthony, who was also Smith’s teammate with the Denver Nuggets.
Smith’s best season, however, ended on a down note. The troubled star slumped in the playoffs, averaging 14.3 points and shooting 27% on three-pointers. The Knicks’ postseason took an ugly turn when Smith was suspended one game for elbowing then-Celtic Jason Terry at the end of the Game 3 of their first-round series. Although the Knicks went on to defeat Boston in six games and capture their first playoff series win in 13 years, they went 3-6 in their last nine playoff games starting with Game 4 against the Celtics.
Smith would be willing to sign elsewhere only if he received a lucrative contract that the Knicks, because of salary-cap restrictions, are unable to match. But the deal Smith would receive from the Knicks is comparable to what shooting guards are receiving this year.