NBA Rumors: J.R. Smith’s Contract Demands Holding Up Deal With Cleveland Cavaliers

J.R. Smith wanting the Cleveland Cavaliers to pay him $15 million per season is one of the most intriguing NBA rumors going around. Judging from the contracts handed out in NBA free agency, Smith deserves the hefty contract from the Cavaliers. The big question is can the Cavaliers pay him?

Fun time is over for J.R. Smith. After helping the Cleveland Cavaliers win their first NBA championship in franchise history, J.R. Smith has enjoyed the fruits that come with being a winner. On the day the Cavaliers won the title, the star shooting guard became the highlight of the night.

Smith’s impassioned speech which produced natural tears flowing from his eyes erased every negative word said about him. Once considered a malcontent, Smith changed the perception. J.R. Smith altered the narrative. His previous stints with teams revealed him to be an afterthought. Smith has gone from the guard just chucking up shots in New York to having an integral role for the Cavaliers.

Smith partied hard after winning his first NBA championship as a starter on the Cavaliers. J.R. Smith remained shirtless for days. J.R. Smith shirtless became a thing. He wound up trending on Twitter because of it. And, according to GQ, fans can now purchase a J.R. Smith shirtless tee shirt. All of Smith’s tattoos are included.

J.R. Smith is done enjoying the spoils of winning the championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now the guard is ready to get back to the business of playing NBA basketball. The problem for J.R. Smith is that he does not have an NBA contract in tow. Smith wants to return to the Cavaliers, but reportedly at his price.

Complex Sports interviewed J.R. Smith a few days ago, and a serious question was asked — why is he still a free agent? Judging from his answer, Smith is just as surprised as everyone else is.

“Well, obviously we’re not where we want to be at from a personal standpoint. 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.”

No one expected J.R. Smith to be where he is now, a player without a team. Smith alluded to having had a couple of offers, though it seems like his heart is in Cleveland with the Cavaliers.

“Financially, you can always go somewhere else. Team morale-wise, there are a few teams that I could see working. There are guys I would like to play with, guys I have played with. Being able to live in that city or a particular place, school systems, kids, family life—[with] free agency, everything comes into play. Before, I could just sit there and be like, ‘I don’t care where I go.’ But now I have the kids, and it’s like, ‘Ok, what’s the best fit?'”

The Cavaliers are the best fit for J.R. Smith, who has reinvented himself on the fly. With all of that said, Smith still wants to get paid.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, J.R. Smith wants $15 million a year.

Smith is one of the best sharpshooters in the NBA today. With the contracts that have gone to lesser players, Smith is deserving of being paid in the $15 million range.

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J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers will make their luxury tax bill higher, but Smith is worth having onboard because of his shooting. [Image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]

Paying Smith $15 million would increase the luxury tax that the Cavaliers will be on the hook for next season. The Cavaliers have a better chance at a second consecutive NBA title with J.R. Smith than without him. Winning is payment enough if you are the Cavaliers’ organization.

The total years on a J.R. Smith contract may be the true issue for the Cavaliers.

Smith is 31-years-old, and this is likely his last shot at a long-term deal. Security, as Smith points out, is the upmost importance. Three years, at $40 million is a good compromise for both Smith and the Cavaliers.

Cleveland is already $22 million over the salary cap. Amazingly enough, the Cavaliers do not have the highest payroll in the NBA. That distinction belongs to the Portland Trailblazers. Slotting J.R. Smith in should not be an issue. Plus, the Cavaliers can make a couple of trades for financial savings. NBA training camp begins in about two weeks, so this situation between J.R. Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers should get resolved soon.

[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]