JR Smith could take his talents to another eastern conference powerhouse. The resurgent Boston Celtics are reportedly interested in signing the mercurial shooting guard.
Contract negotiations between Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers have remained at a standstill. The veteran shooter is asking a $15 million per year salary from the reigning, defending NBA champions.
The Cavaliers are only willing to give him $11 million annually. The stalemate has caused other teams to inquire about Smith.
According to Frank Isola of New York Daily News, the Celtics view Smith as the answer to their bench woes. The team needs extra firepower from its second unit, something the one-time Sixth Man of the Year can provide.
The addition of Smith would greatly help the Celtics in the three-point shooting department. The team shot just 33.5 percent from beyond the arc last season, the third worst in the NBA.
Smith is coming off a breakout year with the Cavaliers. During their championship campaign, he averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists. He shot 41.5 from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line, as per Basketball Reference.
The Celtics would have to shed additional cap space to sign Smith. As of the moment, the team is $6 million short of his $15 million asking price. It still remains to be seen if Danny Ainge would dole out such money on a backup shooting guard.
Early in the offseason, Smith waived his $5.3 million player option and became an unrestricted free agent. His main objective was to secure a hefty pay increase from the Cavaliers.
“JR Smith by all accounts wants to get close to $15 million a year,” Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck pointed out. “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.”