The Boston Celtics are in need of heavy scoring in the back court. One player they can bring in to address the problem is NBA champion JR Smith.
Smith is still a free agent in search of a team to call his own. NBA analysts believe he will likely re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but contract negotiations with the front office have taken longer than expected.
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton via @ESPNForsberg ranked JR Smith as the top remaining player on the free agency market. The Celtics can sign Smith to a one-year, $12 million deal, but they have to renounce the rights to center Tyler Zeller.
Needless to say, the idea of Smith going to Boston did not sit well with majority of Celtics fans. In a Twitter poll by @KingKelley617, 73 percent said the team should avoid signing Smith. On the other hand, 27 percent said they should get him in free agency.
Celtics Hub reported that Smith would greatly help the Celtics in the scoring department. However, the 30-year-old veteran would take away key minutes from Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier and rookie Jaylen Brown.
League sources speculate that Smith is merely fishing for offers from other teams to force the Cavaliers to raise his pay. The Cavaliers owns Smith’s Bird Rights, meaning they can go over the salary cap to extend Smith’s tenure with the team.
“JR Smith by all accounts wants to get close to $15 million a year, said Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “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.”
Beck added that there are currently six NBA teams that have $10 million and above salary cap room, but none of them would be a good fit for the mercurial shooting guard. Teams that can give Smith the money he wants include the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.