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PRESS BOX: Smith to stay with Knicks

The SportsXchange

Shooting guard J.R. Smith is returning to the New York Knicks after he agreed to a four-year, $24.7 million contract, his agent told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday.

The deal is the most the Knicks can offer through the Early Bird provision, in which team can pay the average player salary with annual raises of 7.5 percent. A league source told ESPN that Smith's deal has a player option for the fourth and final year.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks had reportedly shown interest, but the Freehold, N.J. native Smith opted to stay in New York and be close to his family.

Smith, 27, averaged 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season and won the league's Sixth Man of the Year award. The signing will become official on July 10.

---Free-agent Al Jefferson is joining the Charlotte Bobcats, according to an ESPN.com report, citing sources.

After spending the previous three seasons with the Utah Jazz, Jefferson spent two days visiting the Bobcats, and verbally agreed to a three-year deal worth an estimated $41 million, the source said. The contract includes a player option after the second year.

In order to sign Jefferson, the Bobcats will release Tyrus Thomas this month throuhg the one-time amnesty clause, according to TNT.

MLB

The Los Angeles Dodgers sent newly acquired reliever Carlos Marmol to Triple-A Albuquerque, after the former closer cleared waivers.

Marmol accepted the minor-league assignment Thursday morning. The righty posted a 5.86 ERA in 27 2/3 innings with the Chicago Cubs before they dealt him and cash to the Dodgers on July 2 for reliever Matt Guerrier.

---The Atlanta Braves purchased the contract of Joey Terdoslavich from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday, giving the first-baseman/outfielder a chance to make his major-league debut.

Terdoslavich will join the Braves Thursday evening in Atlanta. The 24-year-old batted .318 with 18 homers and 58 RBIs in 85 games at Gwinnett. He'll back up Freddie Freeman at first base and Justin Upton, B.J. Upton and Jason Heyward in the outfield.
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