LeBron James made big news for two reasons over the weekend. On Friday, James re-signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers, inking a three-year deal worth $100 million. Then, on Saturday night, LeBron celebrated by joining hip-hop star Drake on the stage during a performance in Columbus. But now, LeBron and the Cavs must switch their focus to J.R. Smith, Cleveland’s starting shooting guard. The biggest contributor from last season not yet guaranteed to play for the Cavaliers next season, Smith’s procrastination has led some to believe that the Cleveland is entertaining the idea of acquiring DeMarcus Cousins or Vince Carter instead.
J.R. Smith Hasn’t Re-Signed With The Cavs
As noted by Cleveland.com, once the Cavs get Smith to sign on the dotted line, they won’t have any unsigned free agents left from last year’s championship squad. Smith, who has the same agent as LeBron James, recently left for his honeymoon with new wife, Jewel Harris, leaving the contract unsigned. The Cavs have already made Smith an offer, reportedly worth around $10 million per year. The free agent reportedly wants a deal worth closer to $15 million per year.
Upon re-signing with the Cavs, it was said that LeBron let management know that they needed to re-sign Smith as well. The situation seems not unlike that of Tristan Thompson’s contract negotiations a year ago. Thompson, who has the same agent at James and Smith, was holding out for more money. After LeBron put pressure on the Cavs organization, Tristan got the salary he had asked for from Cleveland.
Will The Cavs Trade For DeMarcus Cousins?
While the Cavs wait for J.R. Smith to come around, they wouldn’t be doing their due diligence if they didn’t entertain the idea of other potential signings in the off-season. Having shown great chemistry with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving as part of Team USA’s men’s basketball team in Rio, some are beginning to wonder if Irving and the Cavs are courting DeMarcus Cousins, hoping to make a trade with the Sacramento Kings. Of course, signing someone the caliber of Cousins would require letting go of someone major from the Cavs roster. As reported by Inquisitr, one possible deal might also involve the Los Angeles Lakers. In that scenario, Cousins would go to the Cavs, Kevin Love would go to the Lakers, and D’Angelo Russell would go to the Kings.
However, as reported by Morning Ledger, the Chicago Bulls are also interested in Cousins and may be more likely to land a deal with the Sacramento Kings. Having already lost Derrick Rose and signed Dwayne Wade, acquiring DeMarcus Cousins would be yet another huge off-season move for Chicago. Getting Cousins from the Kings would mean the Bulls would have to give up a couple of players like Nikola Mirotic and Denzel Valentine, according to reports.
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Could The Cavs Trade For Vince Carter?
Some have even suggested that the Cavaliers should pursue a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies to get veteran Vince Carter. As noted at Yibada, Carter’s name frequently comes up when the NBA trade rumor mill gets going. As argued at Fansided, letting Smith slide and acquiring Carter from Memphis would mean increased offense from Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert. With Shumpert in a starting role, Vince Carter would be a strong option from Cleveland’s bench.
This, of course, might make sense if the Cavs somehow fail to sign J.R. Smith. At this point, there’s no reason to believe Smith won’t re-sign with the Cavs.
The Cleveland Cavaliers begin the 2016-17 NBA season at home on Tuesday, October 25, when they welcome the New York Knicks to Quicken Loans Arena.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]