J.R. Smith never wavered from his insistence that he wanted to return to the New York Knicks, even stating in the wake of the disappointing finish to this past season that he hoped to retire a Knick. And he took a step toward that Thursday by accepting a four-year, $24.7 million deal to remain in New York.
With the Knicks capped out, they were able to offer his to Smith as they held his early Bird rights. But they were also aware that if another team came along with a larger offer they would have been helpless to match the dollar figures. So they had to rely on Smith's desire to remain in New York, close to his New Jersey home and with the team that provided the best fit of his career.
For their part, the Knicks really had no choice but to go all-in for Smith. If they didn't retain him they would not have the money to opt for another player to replace him and for all of his flaws, the combustible shooting guard contributed a much-needed element to the team.