UPDATE: July 10 12:53 a.m. ET
It appears that J.R Smith is keeping his word and is returning to the New York Knicks. Marc Berman just reported via his twitter page that Smith is "done seeking offers and has accepted #Knicks 20-percent bump to $2.8M."
This is great news for the Knicks as they have snatched Smith at a bargain price, especially considering their lack of depth at the guard position with Iman Shumpert out for some time.
UPDATE: July 9 3:00 p.m. ET
According to Luke Adams of HoopsRumors.com, the Knicks have agreed to terms with Steve Novak. The deal will give Novak $15 million over the course of four years.
With Novak's deal in place, I expect Smith's will come shortly.
-------End of Update-------
The Knicks have yet to make a big splash in free agency—unless you consider the acquisition of Jason Kidd monumental.
Can the Knicks afford to lose out on either of these guys?
While I do not think they will make a big acquisition, there are things they could do to help themselves out. What New York needs to do is extend offers to their own guys, specifically J.R. Smith and Steve Novak.
New York has already let other teams dictate the market for their own players. Although I do see some advantages in holding out, the Knicks have gotten burned twice thus far.
Toronto offered Landry Fields a contract of three years and almost $20 million. Fields was a good player, but not worth $20 million. His play has decreased since Carmelo Anthony came over from Denver, but that's no reason to throw him under the bus.
I believe if the Knicks would've made an offer first, the third-year player would've remained with the Knicks, providing depth for them as contenders.
Days later, Houston offered point guard sensation Jeremy Lin a contract of nearly $30 million. Sources say New York will match the offer, but there was no reason for it to get up that high in the first place.
Had the Knicks made a decent offer to Lin, he probably would not have entertained other offers. The Knicks will certainly gain money from TV ratings and jersey sales, but they cannot let other teams come between them and their players.
Sources have said that J.R. Smith wants to remain with the Knicks, so what is New York waiting for? Smith is a very talented guard, and he's willing to take a salary bump of just 20 percent, which translates to a contract of about $2.9 million.
Smith is only 26 and is a valuable asset to the team. Off the bench, the guard averaged 12.5 points and just under four rebounds per game. On the open market, this type of production can surely commend more than $3 million, and I wouldn't be surprised if another team throws a monkey wrench in the Knicks' plans and offers Smith that.
Steve Novak is another signature the Knicks need on the dotted line come July 11—the day players can officially sign contracts. Novak was lights-out for New York last season; he shot 47 percent from the three-point line and hit the second-most three-pointers during the second half of the season, draining 85 from beyond the arc.
The intensity and excitement that Novak brings to Madison Square Garden is tremendous. He gives the fans something to cheer for when the second unit is in, and you can't help but cheer out "Novakane" from the edge of your seat when he hits that jumper.
The Knicks cannot afford to let another team dictate these two guys' worth. The duo brings too much to the Knicks to make them wait for an offer till all other moves are completed. They are certainly needed in New York, and they should be treated like they are—unless Knicks GM Glen Grunwald is willing to match another ridiculous offer or watch them walk.