Latest On J.R. Smith, Cavaliers

Since free agency began on July 1, news on J.R. Smith has been scarce. We heard this past week that Cavaliers GM David Griffin was confident about bringing back the veteran shooting guard, and based on the fact that the Cavs hold Smith’s Bird rights and he doesn’t appear to have drawn much outside interest, that seemed logical.

On Sunday, however, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweeted that he’s hearing Smith is seeking a “huge deal” from the Cavs — potentially something in the $15MM-per-year range. By comparison, Smith would have earned $5.375MM if he had opted into the final year of his previous contract rather than declining that player option.

Although a $15MM price tag for Smith may seem outlandish on the surface, Evan Turner recently exceeded $17MM annually on his new deal, while Allen Crabbe received $18MM+ per year. From Smith’s perspective, a deal in the range of Pau Gasol‘s two-year, $30MM pact may seem entirely reasonable, given the salary cap spike and the free agent prices around the NBA, particularly for some less accomplished two guards.

[RELATED: Shooting guard free agent contracts via our 2016 Free Agent Tracker]

Smith also has a little leverage over the Cavaliers because the team isn’t in a great position to replace him if he leaves for another club. Most of the highest-coveted free agents are off the market at this point, and Cleveland isn’t in position to make a big offer to a player like Dion Waiters, since the team doesn’t have any cap room available.

As we saw a year ago with Tristan Thompson – and even this year with LeBron James – the Cavaliers don’t typically rush this sort of negotiation. As long as teams like the Nets and Sixers still have the cap room necessary to offer significant money, Smith could use those clubs as leverage as he seeks a deal with the Cavs. Cleveland, meanwhile, will attempt to get Smith back at a more reasonable price to avoid another big luxury-tax bill. According to Sam Amico of, there has been “zero animosity” between the two sides so far, but that doesn’t mean there will be a quick resolution.

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6 thoughts on “Latest On J.R. Smith, Cavaliers

  1. Ryan Brubaker

    Highly doubt he is going to go anywhere else. He will probably end up getting a 4YR, 48 million contract or something similar. Where would he go?

    • DannyQ3913

      He could cash in with us in Philly, we need to meet the minimum

      • Ryan Brubaker

        No actually you dont NEED to meet the minimum. The difference would just be spread throughout the players that are on the end of season roster. Also, I think Philly and Brooklyn are looking for high IQ/character guys. JR has definitely turned it around last couple of years but still dont see either team giving him more than 15 million per year. Cavs will end up offering 3/36mil or 4/40, something along those lines.

  2. Thronson5

    I think he will resign for the fact he wants to win. I can see him leaving for the Lakers though and the Lakers doing a sign and trade with Cleveland. Cavs sign JR to two year 30 million and trade him to the Lakers for Nick Young. Lakes can afford him and free up money Youngs contract. This works out because the Lakers get another 3 point shooter and get rid of Young and who they want to get rid of and the Cavs save money by getting Young plus they get at least a somewhat ok player which he is better then what is on the market right now.


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