The Sixers earlier expressed interest in signing J.R. Smith, but that interest has faded, reports Hoops Rumors contributor Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter link). Cleveland still wants to re-sign him and is letting the market dictate his price, Amico adds.
Smith most recently expressed a desire to play somewhere he could be a difference-maker, and while he also said he’d like to start, he mentioned the Cavs as an example of a team for which he’d be willing to come off the bench. The former Sixth Man of the Year started in most of his regular season appearances for the Cavs this past season but returned to a bench role in the playoffs. The Leon Rose client said to Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group in mid-July that he “definitely” wants to return to Cleveland, adding that while he had engaged in talks with the Blazers, that discussion didn’t go anywhere.
The Cavs have wanted Smith back on a modest one-year deal, as Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer wrote last month, and Smith had been looking for a three-year deal, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, both of whom cast a reunion between the sides as unlikely. Still, LeBron James wants him back in Cleveland.
A key stumbling block no doubt involves the exponential tax penalties that Cleveland faces with every signing. The Cavs are about $4MM above the tax threshold for now, but they still haven’t re-signed Tristan Thompson, a move they seem likely to make. A deal around the max for Thompson would mean Smith’s contract would cost the Cavs $3.75 or more in tax penalties for every dollar it’s worth. However, only the Sixers, Blazers and Jazz have the cap room available to give Smith a salary comparable to the nearly $6.4MM option he turned down in June, so Cleveland doesn’t have to worry about too many suitors.
How much do you foresee Smith ending up with in a new deal? Leave a comment to tell us.