Jason Smith to leave Pelicans, sign with Knicks

Center Jason Smith is on his way out of New Orleans.

Smith will leave the Pelicans to sign a one-year contract with the New York Knicks, according to multiple reports.

Smith a 7-footer who spent the past four years in New Orleans, averaged 9.7 points, 5.8 rebounds in an injury-shortened season with the Pelicans. He will sign for the $3.27 million taxpayer midlevel exception, agent Mark Bartelstein told Newsday.

Smith played in 31 games for the Pelicans last season but suffered a knee injury. He also missed the 2008-09 season with the knee injury while with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Smith has career averages of 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds over six seasons.

The Pelicans bolstered their frontcourt this week when they finalized the three-team trade and acquired Omer Asik. At Asik’s introductory news conference Tuesday, general manager Dell Demps called Asik “the missing piece” to their roster.

Asik has averaged 5.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in a four-year career with the Bulls and Rockets.

The Pelicans have also said they’d like to use the summer league to continue developing second-year center Jeff Withey, who averaged 3.3 points in 11.8 minutes last season.