Even though free agency in the NBA started a long time ago, there is still some drama left. According to Basketball Insiders, the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered a $10 million a year contract to JR Smith. The deal is for multiple years, though the actual length of the term has not been revealed.
Those that have not been living under a rock the past year know that the Cleveland Cavaliers finally won an NBA championship for the very first time. LeBron James came back from his excursion with the Miami Heat to deliver on a promise that he has made for years now.
Once all the confetti from the championship parade had been cleaned up, it was time for the Cleveland Cavaliers to get back to business. They are fully aware that the window of opportunity in the NBA does not remain open forever. Management knew it needed to prepare for the following season.
On Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers took care of their top priority when they signed LeBron James to a $100 million contract. Making James the highest-paid player in the history of the NBA was a nice reward for the 6-foot-8 small forward bringing a much-needed championship to the city of Cleveland.
With LeBron James being secured for at least the next two seasons, the Cleveland Cavaliers now have to turn their attention to JR Smith. Despite all of his flaws during his lengthy NBA career, Smith actually developed into a valuable role player in the Cavaliers’ chase of the championship.
It is no secret that JR Smith wants to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James has developed into one of his closest friends in the NBA. Plus, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard is finally on a team that can contend for a championship for the next couple of years.
JR Smith is smart enough to understand that the salary structure in the NBA has changed. Players are being paid much more now because the salary cap has increased to record proportions. Lower- and mid-level players are being handed millions of dollars. Smith wants his piece of the pie.
The piece of the pie that JR Smith wants is within the $15 million a year range. In the past, that might have seemed preposterous. However, that is the going rate nowadays in the NBA. It would not come as a shock to see someone in the National Basketball Association paying Smith that amount.
Since most teams in the NBA are almost done with their roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping that JR Smith would give them a hometown discount. Management wants him to take $10 million a season so that they don’t have to pay a ton of money to the luxury tax.
JR Smith is willing to wait out the deal because he has a couple of cards under his sleeves. Aside from being close and personal friends with LeBron James, Smith knows that the Cleveland Cavaliers would be hard pressed to find a replacement at this stage of the year.
There are not a lot of teams in the NBA that can meet the financial demands of JR Smith. Most of them have already used up their salary cap space in preparation of next season. It would seem a foolish move for Smith to sign with a team like the Utah Jazz just to spite the Cleveland Cavaliers because he would greatly reduce his chances of winning another title.
Unless something dramatic takes place, the Cleveland Cavaliers should be making an official announcement in the upcoming weeks that they have signed JR Smith and are focused on defending the NBA championship.
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