The Cleveland Cavaliers had made it a point to bring back the same team that emerged as the Eastern Conference winners and NBA runner-ups. Most of the men in the roster have new deals.
Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith remain unsigned, which according to LeBron James should be Cleveland’s primary objective.
The J.R. Smith issue
J.R. Smith, in a bid to get a longer deal with the Cavs, declined his players option this summer.
However, his ploy didn’t work, as Cavs offered Smith a one-year contract, and that would pay him lesser money than his players option, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com.
Smith’s player option was worth $6.4 million for 2015-16. Rather, he passed it and hit the market as a free agent believing that a much bigger offer awaits him for the coming season. The hard part for Smith is that it didn’t happen.
Smith can continue to wait, but right now, for him, Cleveland is the only option in the market.
The Cavs can afford to sit comfortably and wait on the Smith issue after signing Mo Williams this offseason. Williams is capable of playing a similar role off-bench like Smith. There are rumors surrounding the Cavs’ links with Clippers’ Jamal Crawford. But as LeBron suggested, Smith is their prime target.
And why? Because Smith rebuilt his image at Cleveland fitting in quite well in their roster under the watchful eyes of James. He focused on basketball and lifting his game, staying away from off-court drama, which plagued him during his stint at New York Knicks.
Quite often did LeBron James compliment his role in the Cavs last season. The reason why Smith could still thrive at Cleveland.