JR Smith remains unsigned more than a month since the free agency period started. The sharp-shooting guard is expected to return to Cleveland Cavaliers, but there is also a chance he will bolt out of Northeast Ohio soon.
The 30-year-old is aware of the big deals most free agents received this season like the three-year, $38.3 million contract Jeremy Lin got from the Brooklyn Nets. According to Yardbarker, Lin’s contract could be one of the reasons why Smith is pushing for a bigger deal.
Lin was a backup guard in Charlotte last season, as he played behind Hornets star Kemba Walker. Smith, on the other hand, started in all 77 regular-season games he was available. The veteran guard was also a big factor for the Cavaliers during their miraculous comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
Adding insult to injury, Timofey Mozgov, who spent the majority of last season on the bench, received a huge four-year deal worth $64 million from the Los Angeles Lakers. Backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova also signed a four-year, $38.43 agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks.
These could be the main reasons why Smith has yet to sign a new contract. According to Basketball Insiders, the Cavaliers recently offered a $10-million per year deal, but the 12-year veteran wants more — probably similar to Lin or Mozgov’s deal this summer.
Cavaliers need not worry, though, as most analysts are still convinced that Smith will stay in Cleveland in years to come. It is likely a matter of reaching an agreement on the financial side and length of the deal. It is also worth noting that James expressed his desire to play with JR Smith again next season. Check the video below.