Central Notes: Smith, Antetokounmpo, Granger

J.R. Smith will probably regret turning down his $6.4MM option for next season, writes Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer, although the free agent guard could still rejoin the Cavaliers at a lesser rate. The team was unhappy with Smith’s decision and started looking for a replacement, Pluto reports. Although Smith is still trying to find a better deal, most free agents have been signed and the list of teams with cap space is dwindling. Pluto notes that Cleveland would like to bring Smith back, but only on a “modest” one-year contract.

There’s more tonight from the Central Division:

  • The Cavs‘ “immediate need” for “championship caliber” players may keep Rakeem Christmas and Sir’Dominic Pointer from making the roster, according to Joe Vardon of The Northeast Ohio Media Group. The second-round picks were acquired from the Wolves in a draft-day deal that sent Tyus Jones to Minnesota, and although the Cavaliers like both players there may not be room on the roster for them to sit and learn the NBA game. “We’re in a really unique situation roster-spot wise, where both of them could be affected by that,” said Cavs GM David Griffin. “What we need are guys that can compete in championship caliber games. We ended up in a situation where we ran out of bodies in the Finals and guys that were ready to play significant minutes.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo would like to spend his entire career with the Bucks, the 20-year-old Greek star wrote on his blog. Antetokounmpo expressed gratitude to the Milwaukee front office for drafting him and making him a team leader at such a young age, though he did include a qualifier that could make Bucks fans nervous: “Okay, if LeBron [James] said to me ‘Come to my team and play with me,’ I’d think about it! [laughs] He’s the best player in the world and a member of that exclusive group of the best that have ever played the game. Still, though, the Milwaukee Bucks would come first. They will always be the team that gave me my chance and opened up the doors to paradise.”
  • Veteran Danny Granger will be among five players battling for the last two roster spots with the Pistons, according to Vince Ellis of USA Today. The others in contention, according to Ellis, are second-round pick Darrun Hilliard, Reggie Bullock, Cartier Martin and Adonis Thomas.
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