New York Knicks Sign Free Agent Guard J.R. Smith, Waive Renaldo Balkman

The New York Knicks signed free agent guard J.R. Smith and waived forward Renaldo Balkman, interim General Manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement released last night by the team.

Smith will provide depth at guard and small forward. He’ll be paid the team’s $2.5 million exception to the salary cap, prorated for the remainder of the season.

Smith, 26, who had been playing for Zhejiang in China, also weighed offers from clubs such as the Los Angeles Clippers. He announced the signing yesterday morning on his Twitter account, posting a message saying “New York Knicks It Is.”

Smith has averaged 12.5 points per game in his seven National Basketball Association seasons with New Orleans/Oklahoma City and Denver. He’s shot 37 percent from 3- point range.

Balkman, 27, was in his sixth NBA season with the Knicks and Denver.

The Knicks, fueled by the emergence of point guard Jeremy Lin, have won seven of their last eight games. New York lost 89-85 last night at home to the New Orleans Hornets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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