The New York Knicks are claiming Richard Jefferson straight-up LIED about getting a contract offer from the team before he retired ... saying RJ is just blowing smoke.
The Knicks could NOT have been happy with the comments Jefferson made on ESPN this weekend ... when he said he chose RETIREMENT over a contract with the Knicks because they suck.
"I refused to play for the Knicks," Jefferson said during the Knicks vs. Nets broadcast on Sunday night.
"Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin -- they don't really care. Me, I was the one person that said, 'Knicks? No. I’ll retire.' That’s why I retired."
"They were the one team that offered me a job, and I decided to retire," RJ continued ... "It’s true. I decided to retire instead of playing for the Knicks."
Now, the Knicks are clapping back through the team's official PR Twitter account ... saying, "For clarification purposes, it is not true that the New York Knicks offered Richard Jefferson a contract in either the summer of 2018 or 2019."
So, someone's lying ...
As for Jefferson, dude had a solid NBA career -- he played 17 seasons in the league and won an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavs in 2016.
Jefferson just tweeted at the Knicks, essentially laughing at them -- saying, "2020 here we come #comeback 😂"