J.R. Smith’s new contract with the Knicks is only for three seasons

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When word surfaced that J.R. Smith underwent knee surgery that would keep him out of action for the next three-four months, Knicks fans weren’t all that happy to hear that a player their favorite team just signed to a four-year contract was one that had been experiencing chronic knee issues.

While there isn’t anything different to report on the injury front where Smith is concerned, there is some positive news that’s come out in terms of the deal he just signed — as it turns out, it wasn’t quite as large as was widely reported originally.

From Howard Beck of the New York Times:

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.

An update came later that said Smith originally did agree to a four-year deal, but later opted for three years to become a free agent again sooner.

That’s a pretty big difference, though — not only in terms of the total value of the deal, but also in the lack of a fourth year the team would potentially be on the hook for down the line.

As mentioned in the Times story, it speaks to the famously (and unnecessarily) secretive Knicks organization that it took this long for these details to be revealed. But either way, if Smith’s knees are indeed something to be concerned about in the future, having him under contract for three years instead of four is definitely advantageous for the New York franchise.