The revelation that J. R. Smith had knee surgery Monday — just four days after signing a rich, new four-year contract — made the Knicks’ investment look instantly suspect and possibly ill-advised. But the surgery was not a surprise to team officials. And the investment was not as extensive as first believed.
Smith’s deal covers a maximum of three years, with a total value of $17.95 million, not the four years and $24.5 million that was widely reported, including in The New York Times, last week.
The precise terms were confirmed Tuesday by a rival team executive and a second person with access to the contract. Despite the intense scrutiny of the deal, Knicks General Manager Glen Grunwald made no attempt to correct the erroneous reports during a 16-minute conference call with reporters Tuesday.
The contract calls for Smith to make $5.57 million next season and $5.98 million in 2014-15, with a third-year player option at $6.4 million. It is still a considerable commitment for a pl...