Smith is the younger brother of Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith. His inclusion on the roster has stirred strong emotions among the team's fan base.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson acknowledged that Chris Smith's ties to his brother would influence whether the team kept or cut the 26-year-old guard.
"I look at him just like I look at J.R., though J.R. is the guy who played in a uniform and has been very productive for us," Woodson said earlier this month before the roster announcement. "I have a great deal of respect for that family. That's his brother; I respect that."
Chris Smith said recently that he had received strong criticism from Knicks fans on Twitter after he survived the team's initial roster cuts.
"I can't even have a social media because people are coming at me because they think [I made the team because of my brother]," Smith said. "I feel like I earned my position on the team, and I'm going to keep on earning my way here."
The former Louisville guard acknowledged that his family ties have helped his career.
"Has it helped me? Of course. That's my big brother. People look for us to be together all the time. ... He has helped me a lot," Smith said.
Chris Smith is represented by the Creative Artists Agency, which is an added layer to the Knicks' decision to keep him.
CAA represents the Smith brothers and has close ties to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.
Some rival agents believe Chris Smith's roster spot with the Knicks was locked in as a "package deal" when J.R. Smith re-signed with the team in July.
Chris Smith signed a nonguaranteed contract worth $490,180. According to league sources with knowledge of the contract, Smith's deal is fully guaranteed now that he has made the opening day roster.
So the Knicks can release Smith at any time but will be forced to pay his full salary.
Smith was with the team in training camp last season before suffering a knee injury that required surgery on his patella tendon.
He played 20 minutes in the preseason, shooting 1-for-7 from the floor.