Cavaliers reportedly offering J.R. Smith less than the player option he declined
J.R. Smith had a player option on his contract that would have paid him $6.4 million for the upcoming season, but he declined it to become an unrestricted free agent so he could pursue a more lucrative one instead.
Most expect him to be back in Cleveland next season, but as of right now, it's not looking as though the Cavaliers are only willing to offer him less than he could have earned by simply leaving his contract intact, as Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com explains.
"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."
We know Smith isn't getting any deal at all until the Cavaliers figure things out where Tristan Thompson is concerned. The luxury tax Cleveland will pay on his contract, if he gets anywhere near the five-year max deal he's looking for, will be fairly astronomical, which will leave less money for Smith when all is said and done.
J.R. could use next season to bet on himself while playing on a lesser contract, by cleaning up his act and being a good teammate who performs well on the court. The Cavaliers are expected to contend for a title once again, so Smith will get plenty of attention as Cleveland is once again playing under a national spotlight -- whether that's a positive, of course, is all up to Smith.