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J.R. Smith says he's joining Jeremy Lin and Knicks

February 17, 2012|By Austin Knoblauch
  • J.R. Smith, then a member of the Denver Nuggets, celebrates after scoring against Oklahoma City in a 2011 playoff game.
J.R. Smith, then a member of the Denver Nuggets, celebrates after scoring… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )

It looks like that conversation Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro had with free agent J.R. Smith didn't go that great after all.

Smith tweeted Friday that he's joining the New York Knicks, no doubt spurred on by the Knicks' current seven-game winning streak and Jeremy Lin's sudden rise to budding NBA star.

Smith, who was being courted by several NBA teams, including the Clippers and Lakers, tweeted, "New York it is!" even though the Knicks say that no deal is in place. Smith signed with a team in China during the NBA lockout and cannot sign a new contract until his return to the NBA is cleared by FIBA, the international basketball federation.

PHOTOS: Absolute Lin-sanity

If the Knicks sign Smith, New York Coach Mike D'Antoni said he would use him off the bench and keep Landry Fields as a starter at shooting guard.

Smith has averaged 12.5 points per game since making his NBA debut in 2004, but he has a reputation for clashing with teammates and coaches.

It appeared that the Clippers were in contention for Smith after a smiling Del Negro told reporters Wednesday he had a "very, very good conversation" with the former Denver Nuggets player. Smith would have given the Clippers a solid replacement for Chauncey Billups, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn Achilles' tendon.

But in the end, it appears that a strong start by Chris Paul and the Clippers wasn't enough to keep Smith away from the pull of Linsanity.

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