JR Smith played a key role in helping Cleveland Cavaliers win their first-ever NBA championship in June. However, the Cavs could be forced to part ways with the shooting guard, who is reportedly seeking a $15 million per year contract.
According to Cleveland.com beat writer Chris Fedor, Smith and his agents are expecting a lucrative deal given the amount of money thrown around in the ongoing offseason. The likes of Evan Fournier and Allen Crabbe have secured $85 million and $75 million contracts with their respective teams.
JR Smith done taking pay cuts?
Surely, Smith is more accomplished than the aforementioned guards, who are yet to make a mark in the league. Therefore, Smith is entitled to seek a lucrative deal after taking a significant pay cut last year to return to the Cavaliers after he opted out of a $6.4 million deal to sign a one-year $5.4 million contract with only $2 million guaranteed.
On the surface, Smith is arguably the most underpaid player in the league. “That’s the name of the game: sacrifice,” JR said recently after Cleveland’s championship parade. “If I didn’t sacrifice then I wouldn’t be a champ now so there has to be sacrifice on both sides and I think both sides have to come to an understanding of where neither one of us is taking advantage of one another and we can move from there.”
Yikes… hearing JR Smith seeking huge deal to return to Cavs, in the $15m per year range. Can Cavs really pass on bringing him back?
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 17, 2016
Having made past sacrifices, isn’t it time for JR Smith to cash in?
David Griffin, general manager of the Cavaliers, realizes that Smith wants to return but he’s also in a precarious position with his team strapped for cap room. “I think the good news is J.R. wants to be here and we want J.R. back. These things sometimes take time and he has representatives that want him to be with us as well so when the time is right something will get done.”
Wants to stay in Cleveland….
JR Smith is still hopeful that his agent gets a deal done. “At the end of the day, I have a great agent fortunately, and I will let him do what he does,” Smith told ESPN last Friday. “I’ve just enjoyed the moment with my family and my teammates. Eventually it will come, I know that time will come. When it does I will be ready for it and make the right decision. I’m sure he will put me in the right position.”
According to Cleveland.com, Smith and Cavs could continue the negotiations for a few more months before settling on an agreement. “More negotiations are coming and there’s a real possibility the conversations drag on, but Smith re-signing in Cleveland appears to be a matter of when and for what price as opposed to if, even though there’s currently some trepidation.”
Last season, JR Smith averaged 12.3 points while shooting an impressive 40 per cent from deep. During the playoffs, he averaged 11.5 points and shot a career-high 43 per cent from three. He was also Cleveland’s best perimeter defender.