New York Knicks Sign J.R. Smith's Brother, Chris, Following Summer League

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIAugust 1, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 24:  Chris Smith #5 of the Louisville Cardinals cuts down the net after defeating the Florida Gators 72-68 during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Final at US Airways Center on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With one more roster space left to fill, it appears the New York Knicks have gone in a surprising direction, signing Chris Smith, brother of J.R., following his invitation to the NBA's Las Vegas Summer League last month.

According to a tweet from the former Louisville Cardinal, the guard officially put pen to paper today, with a photo attached as evidence.

The biggest question Knicks fans will be asking is whether or not the contract is guaranteed, because if it is, they likely won't be making any more moves this offseason.

With Chris Smith included, the Knicks now have 15 players on their roster, and the only way they could add another is by cutting someone, with the most likely candidates being summer league invitees Chris Copeland, James White and Smith.

After a shocking performance in the summer league, White is the player that should be most worried about making the final cut, especially considering that the Knicks supposedly have a chance (according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports) of signing Josh Howard—another small forward.

Speaking of unimpressive displays in the summer league, Smith only averaged 5.2 points, two rebounds and 1.4 assists in Vegas, so it's hard to believe that his signing was based purely on what he showed the Knicks last month.

Rather, Smith's signing is probably linked to J.R. taking a pay-cut to stay in New York, with a contract for his younger brother coming as part of the deal.

Whatever the reason for this signing, Smith will not have a big role on this team. When everyone's healthy, he'll be the fourth shooting guard on the depth chart.

What this signing does indicate, though, is that Copeland is set for a relatively big bench role on this team, as he remains the only power forward on the roster other than Amar'e Stoudemire.

That final spot on the roster could have been used to bring in another big man, but now that it's gone it will be between Copeland and Kurt Thomas as to who gets minutes behind Stoudemire.

Update: According to Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com, the plan is to send Smith down to the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League, which means the Knicks will still be able to sign another player to the 15-man roster.

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