Knicks use taxpayer mid-level exception on Jason Smith

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The Knicks have downgraded at center this offseason.

They traded Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks, acquiring Samuel Dalembert. They also re-signed Cole Aldrich, and Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani can play some 5, too. But that’s hardly an inspiring position group.

Jason Smith isn’t elite himself, but he increases New York’s odds of getting productive minutes at center throughout each game.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Smith clearly receive the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($3,278,000). The Knicks are now limited to minimum-salary contracts for signing outside free agents, but more importantly, they keep Smith off the books for 2015-16. New York’s priority is maximizing cap space for next summer.

Until then, the 7-foot Smith is a good pick-and-pop shooter, though his range doesn’t quite extend to the 3-point arc. He’s also a sold shot-blocker, but his on-ball defense isn’t great and neither is his rebounding.

All said, Smith is a strong addition by Phil Jackson. The Knicks didn’t have much to spend and had a need at the NBA’s most-expensive position. To nab Smith is strong value.