J.R. Smith won’t attend the Cavaliers’ minicamp in California this week, since he and the team remain at an impasse in contract talks, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Sources tell Windhorst that no recent progress has been made in contract discussions between the two sides.
Training camp won’t officially get underway for the Cavaliers until next week, but players and coaches are meeting in Santa Barbara this week for workouts. While Smith and the Cavs would both like to get something done within the next several days to ensure that the veteran guard is in attendance when training camp begins, Smith will likely be willing to miss part of camp if necessary, says Windhorst.
According to Windhorst, Smith is seeking a multiyear deal, which doesn’t come as a surprise. Last summer, the 31-year-old inked a two-year contract with a player option for year two, which he declined. This time around, he’s probably looking for a three- or four-year pact. Reports have indicated that Smith’s initial asking price was in the $15MM-per-year range, with the Cavs preferring something in the $10-12MM neighborhood. Last week, the former first-round pick suggested that he didn’t want to feel like he was “taking advantage” of the team in negotiations.
“Obviously we’re not where we want to be at from a personal standpoint,” Smith said. “But it’s more than just numbers. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of the Cavs for everything they’ve done for me, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. It’s more of a mutual respect thing.
Smith, who turned 31 this month, started a career-high 77 games for the Cavs during the 2015/16 season, and also started all 21 of the team’s playoff games. During the season, he averaged 12.4 PPG and shot 40.0% from long distance, making 2.6 threes per game. He increased those three-point numbers to 43.0% and 3.1 per game during the postseason.