Smith signed in China during the lockout and was ineligible to return to the NBA until his team’s season was finished there. The Knicks can’t reach a deal with him until his return is cleared by FIBA, basketball’s international governing body.
Smith is a streaky shooter with deep range and has averaged 12.5 points in the NBA since he was the No. 18 pick by the Hornets in the 2004 draft. He spent the last five seasons with the Nuggets, twice scoring more than 15 points per game.
But Smith is also temperamental and has clashed with teammates and coaches, and his signing now could be risky for a Knicks team that has finally found its stride behind Jeremy Lin, winning seven straight games entering their game against the Hornets on Friday night.
“That’ll be a hurdle we’ll get over,” he said following the Knicks‘ morning shootaround.