When J.R. Smith turned down a player option worth $6.4 million in order to test free agency, he did so under the assumption that the multiyear offers would come rolling in. Unfortunately for the veteran swingman, not only did this not occur, but the team he prefers to play for — the Cleveland Cavaliers — has offered him a one-year deal at an amount lower than the initial option.
Smith knows he should have picked up the player option for $6.4 million for 2015-16. When he passed and became a free agent, he really believed a multiyear offer for more money was coming his way.
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It didn’t happen.
The Cavs have made him an offer. I hear it’s less than $6.4 million that he turned down. They know Smith is not thrilled with a lesser deal. But right now, he has no leverage, and a one-year contract puts him in position to cash in next summer when the salary cap rises 30 percent.
Smith may continue to wait. But right now, it seems Cleveland is his only option.
When Smith was acquired from the New York Knicks midseason, his ability to hit from long range made him an immediate contributor. Assumed to be coming off of the bench, he started more games than not due to his ability to play off the ball. He was a big reason the Cavs made it to the NBA Finals in the wake of several key injuries, and coach David Blatt and teammate LeBron James have often praised his role on the team.
The pairing of Smith, a fan favorite, and the Cavaliers’ 2015-16 roster would make sense for both sides. Assuming he thrives once again, Smith could see a nice payday come next July. In the event things do not work out as initially hoped (as the team has committed several years to shooting guard Iman Shumpert), he could easily be moved to a team looking to have that salary come off their books next summer.