In a recent Community Shootaround discussion, we asked which free agent – besides LeBron James – represented the best option still available on the open market. Those of you who responded gave plenty of support to J.R. Smith over other options like Dion Waiters and Maurice Harkless, who have since signed deals, and guys like Lance Stephenson and Donatas Motiejunas, who remain unsigned.
While most observers believe that Smith will eventually re-sign with the Cavaliers, that’s not necessarily a given. We’ve certainly seen plenty of surprising free agent departures this month, and one report from mid-July suggested that Smith was seeking a $15MM annual salary — assuming the Cavs lock up LeBron James for a max or near-max deal, a $15MM salary for Smith would put the team way over the tax line once again, even after this year’s huge salary cap leap.
Meanwhile, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders detailed on Wednesday, the 76ers, Nuggets, and Nets all have over $18MM in cap room, while teams like the Thunder, Lakers, Timberwolves, Suns, and Jazz are all above $12.5MM. Not all of those clubs have a need for a player like Smith, and he may not be interested in a few of them, but perhaps there’s a fit somewhere in that list of eight teams — or with another club for a more modest price.
The Cavaliers are limited in what they can offer outside free agents, making Smith a logical fit, since the team can go over the cap to sign him. But how high should the Cavs be willing to go? And how long should they be willing to wait for Smith to compromise on his asking price? Do you see a more ideal fit for Smith with another team?
Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on Smith. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.