Atlanta Hawks Rumors: Will JR Smith Turn His Back On Cleveland Cavaliers, Join East Rivals?

Atlanta Hawks Rumors: Will JR Smith Turn His Back On Cleveland Cavaliers, Join East Rivals?
JR Smith Erik Drost / Flickr cc

The bulk of NBA fans don’t really care about the Atlanta Hawks during the regular season. Despite posting winning records year after year, the team just lacks pomposity and box-office appeal to generate sweeping fan interest.


This is most likely due to the players the Hawks have chosen to identify with the past few years. Guys like Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Paul Millsap are level-minded individuals who exhibit the best of what a professional athlete should be. However, they can also be quite bland and unengaging.

Fans are drawn to conflict, controversy and colorful personalities. Now that only Millsap remains, the Hawks have the opportunity to revamp its image. The team already signed Dwight Howard to a three-year, $70 million deal. Imagine what it would do to the Hawks fan base if JR Smith enters the fray.

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Is JR Smith The Only Option?

The mercurial shooting guard has yet to sign with an NBA team. Contract negotiations with the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed to have reached a stalemate.

Sources close to the situation believe Smith is mulling offers from other teams to force David Griffin to increase his pay. The Cavaliers presently owns Smith’s Bird Rights. The team has the option to go beyond the salary cap to give Smith the pay check he demands.

“JR Smith by all accounts wants to get close to $15 million a year,” explained Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “Dellavedova just got a deal averaging $9.5 million. His other former teammate Mozgov gets four-year, $64 million and Shumpert is getting $10 million a year.”

Also Read: NBA Rumors – Atlanta Hawks Sending Paul Millsap To Charlotte Hornets?

According to Soaring Down South, Smith to the Hawks would make for a great playoff storyline against the Cavaliers. One potential deal breaker is his $15 million per year asking price. Take away the pomp and pageantry, Smith is merely a streaky shooter who can drive to the basket for the occasional highlight play.  There are cheaper options who can provide the Hawks with the same output.

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