JR Smith Reportedly Will Decline Player Option with Knicks and Become Free Agent

Tim KeeneyContributor IJune 4, 2013

New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith will reportedly opt out of his player option and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. 

The news comes from ESPN's Jared Zwerling:

J.R. Smith will not opt in with the New York Knicks, declining his player option of $2.9 million, a league source confirmed with ESPNNewYork.com.

Smith will officially announce the decision before June 30, making him an unrestricted free agent.

However, this was always an expected potential decision, and as Zwerling states, the Knicks can still re-sign their polarizing guard for "$4.9 million using the Early Bird exception, with standard raises over four years."

Moreover, Zwerling's source believes it's "likely" Smith will re-sign with his current team once free agency starts on July 1. 

It was a bit of a roller coaster year for the enigmatic shooting guard. 

He enjoyed the best season of his career, averaging 18.1 points on 42.2 percent shooting to go with 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game on his way to winning the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award. 

However, in the postseason, he shot an atrocious 33.1 percent from the field and averaged just 14.3 points per contest as the second-seeded Knicks were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

There's Smith in a nutshell. 

When he's good, he can provide instant offense off the bench better than perhaps anyone else in the NBA. When he's bad, his questionable shot selection and decision making are only magnified, and he can become a liability. 

Nevertheless, for someone capable of affecting the game in a unique way, he still comes at a relative bargain, and it would be surprising if the Knicks don't bring him back in a month's time.