Central Notes: J.R. Smith, Carter-Williams, Pistons

The details on J.R. Smith‘s new deal with the Cavaliers are now available, and as Bobby Marks of The Vertical outlines, Smith’s salaries don’t descend annually, as some previous reports suggested. Smith will earn $41.28MM in the first three years of his new contract, with an opportunity to earn a $15.68MM salary in year four. Currently, that fourth year is guaranteed for just $3.87MM, bringing the total guarantee to $45.15MM. For the 2016/17 season, Smith will be on Cleveland’s books for $12.8MM, taking the team deep into luxury-tax territory.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

  • With Smith now locked up, the Cavaliers‘ next big free agent will be a player who signed a lucrative new multiyear deal this summer: LeBron James. As Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes, James will be eligible to opt out in 2018, while Smith, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love can’t reach the open market until at least 2019.
  • Michael Carter-Williams doesn’t know for sure why he’s been dealt twice in his young career, but he’s looking forward to playing for the Bulls, and hopes that playing behind veteran point guard Rajon Rondo will help him improve his game, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. “I’m looking to learn from Rondo,” Carter-Williams said. “He’s one of the best point guards in this league. This is something fresh and new and will give me a little push, a little jolt. I think it will be fun.”
  • Aaron McMann of MLive.com examines the fight for the Pistons‘ third point guard spot, which seems to be going down to the wire. As McMann notes, the battle between Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum is crucial, since the winner figures to open the season as the backup at the point, with Reggie Jackson sidelined.
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