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. The financial numbers for 2013-14 are scheduled to be released next week, but the average salary is projected to be about $5.5 million. 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.
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