J.R. Smith is yet to sign on the dotted line with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The veteran shooting guard realizes that while he wishes to stay with the NBA champions, he stands to make a lot more money signing elsewhere.
Over the weekend, Smith spoke to Complex Sports about his impending contract.
When asked if re-signing with the Cavs was his “best” option”, the former Sixth Man of the Year was very blunt in his response: “Yes and no. It depends on how you look at it.”
A player like Smith, who emerged as the one of the best 3-and-D specialists during the last two seasons, could easily walk away with a max contract if he tested free agency.
When you consider that the kind of contracts unproven players like Evan Fournier, Allen Crabbe and a veteran role player like Evan Turner have received, Smith should be getting the big bucks.
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J.R. Smith to Philadelphia?
However, the Cavaliers simply don’t have the needed cap space to offer him the big bucks.
With the new NBA season set to begin in a month’s time, almost all the teams are capped out except for the Philadelphia 76ers, who still have roughly $24 million left in cap space.
And during the interview with Complex, Smith admitted that he had to carefully weigh his options. If he’s looking to compete for championships, the Cavs present him with the best opportunity.
But if he’s hoping to secure his immediate financial future, there are better options out there.
“Financially, you can always go somewhere else. Team morale-wise, there are a few teams that I could see working. There are guys I would like to play with, guys I have played with.
“Being able to live in that city or a particular place, school systems, kids, family life — [with] free agency, everything comes into play.
“Before, I could just sit there and be like, ‘I don’t care where I go.’ But now I have the kids, and it’s like, ‘OK, what’s the best fit?'”
Besides the Sixers, the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets and Utah Jazz are the other teams with leftover cap space. However, the Sixers are the one team most desperate for depth at the guard rotation.
Will J.R. Smith opt for money or championships?