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Smith may be on the move after this season.
Unrestricted Free Agents
The current Knicks whose deals expire at the end of the year are Kenyon Martin, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace. The three big men will be unrestricted free agents as soon as the clock strikes midnight on July 1.
It wouldn't be outrageous to expect 40-year-old Kurt Thomas to call it a career by then, especially after recent injury troubles.
As for Wallace and Martin? It's anybody's guess. Wallace was productive in limited time this season, but after injuring himself in 20 games while averaging just 15 minutes per, we may have unfortunately seen the last of 'Sheed in an NBA uniform.
Martin on the other hand looks as fresh as ever. He has filled in as starting center in Tyson Chandler's absence, averaging eight points and five boards and looking as bouncy and athletic as any player on the roster.
Restricted Free Agents
Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni are due for restricted free agency following 2012-13. Prigioni is 35 and may consider returning overseas after this season, but that's purely speculation at this point. He has been the Knicks' most consistent point guard to date, and the team would have some work to do should Prigioni leave for another NBA team or overseas.
Copeland's case is interesting. He isn't receiving much burn under Mike Woodson, who tends to favor veterans. There's no doubt he can score the basketball—he averaged 20 points per 36 minutes—but every other facet of his game needs work.
It wouldn't be crazy for a younger team to take a flier on Cope, 29, to take on a heavier scoring role. The Knicks likely wouldn't match an expensive offer, considering the limited role he plays on the current squad.
The second year of James White's contract is... well, it depends on who you ask.
HoopsHype doesn't acknowledge that it exists at all. Basketball-Reference has it down as guaranteed. HoopsWorld tells us that it's non-guaranteed (now we're getting somewhere!), and finally ShamSports enlightens us with the following:
James White: Signed a two year minimum salary contract in July 2012.
Second year is fully unguaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed if not waived before June 30th 2013.
Unfortunately, the Knicks didn't fill me in on the details when Flight signed his deal, so I don't know for sure. But ShamSports' side of the story sounds pretty accurate.
Essentially, it's a team option that has to be picked up by June 30. The Knicks can either bring him back for a full, guaranteed season or cut him loose for free.
White has filled in as a starter occasionally this season due to injuries, but his presence on the roster doesn't make much of an impact at all on the Knicks' plans.
J.R. Smith did the Knicks' brass a solid last offseason when he returned on the cheap—his deal was for one year with a player option for a second and worth just under $6 million total. The second year was essentially insurance for Smith, and it's extremely, extremely, unlikely that Smith will opt into next season with the Knicks for less than $3 million.
Smith is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year this season, his best to date. He's scoring 17 points per game to go along with five rebounds.
After declining his player option, Smith would become an unrestricted free agent. Then it'll be up to the Knicks. Sure, they may like him as their first man off the bench, but another squad may like him as their starting shooting guard.
With all the money New York has tied up in its core trio, it's unlikely that the Knicks would tie up a ton of money into Smith—not even because of the wild inconsistency, just based on cost.
If Smith wants to remain a Knick, it'll probably have to be on a much less luxurious deal than he would receive elsewhere. But if Smith wants to take his act on the road and shore up his finances while he can, no one would fault him for that, either.