Free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith reportedly passed on a a contract offer from a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. A source tells Carchia that Smith turned down the proposal – worth about $1.6MM – from the Jiangsu Dragons.
Smith, who will turn 34 in September, spent last season under contract with the Cavaliers. However, he only played 11 games in his fifth season with the franchise, informally parting ways with Cleveland last fall as the team tried to find a taker for his pseudo-expiring contract. The Cavs ultimately didn’t get any trade offers they liked for Smith and waived him this summer.
Assuming Carchia’s information on Jiangsu’s offer is accurate, it makes some sense that Smith would be reluctant to accept it. As a result of being released by the Cavaliers, the veteran guard will earn about $1.46MM in each of the next three years, so he’s not in immediate need of a payday. Plus, if he can catch on with an NBA team, his minimum salary stateside would be about $2.56MM.
We haven’t heard much about the potential NBA market for Smith since he met with the Bucks over a month ago. Milwaukee ultimately opted to sign another shooter, Kyle Korver, but other teams could have interest in Smith if they decide they need another outside threat this fall. He has knocked down 37.3% of 5,167 career three-point attempts.
Of course, if Smith does eventually decide to make the move to China, he’d hardly be the only NBA veteran to do so this offseason. As we detailed on Tuesday, Lance Stephenson, Jeremy Lin, Isaiah Canaan, Jerian Grant, and Ian Clark are among the many players who have signed with CBA clubs within the last couple months. Smith has also played in China once before, having joined the Zhejiang Golden Bulls during the 2011 NBA lockout.