NEW YORK >> Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith has informed the Knicks that he will decline the option in his contract for next season and become a free agent.
A team spokesman also said Tuesday that the Knicks extended a qualifying offer to forward Chris Copeland, making him a restricted free agent and allowing them to match any offer he receives.
Smith’s decision was not a surprise given that he can make much more than the $2.9 million he was scheduled to earn next season.
Smith is happy in New York and is a longtime teammate of Carmelo Anthony, so he would likely want to stay with the right offer.
He averaged 18.1 points in 80 regular-season games but shot just 29 percent over the final eight postseason games.
Kings make qualifying offer to Evans
SACRAMENTO, Calif. >> The Kings made a qualifying offer to guard Tyreke Evans on Tuesday, making him a restricted free agent.
Under the offer, Evans would make $6.9 million next season. If the Kings had not made him the qualifying offer, he would have become an unrestricted free agent Monday.
The Kings now can match any offer sheet Evans might sign with another team. They also could part with Evans in a sign-and-trade deal.