NBA News: J.R. Smith going back to Cleveland Cavaliers, ready to defend title with LeBron James

NBA News: J.R. Smith going back to Cleveland Cavaliers, ready to defend title with LeBron James

J.R. Smith is officially back with the Cleveland Cavaliers weeks after multiple NBA rumors that had the veteran shooting guard joining other rivals. LeBron James and the Cavs can now focus on defending their NBA title they won last season against the Golden State Warriors.

Smith reportedly signed a four-year contract worth $57 million, or about $14.1M per season. This is lower than of Smith’s demand for a long-term deal of $15 per year.

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Reports claim that the Cavs were only willing to give Smith two years for $10M to $12M but it looks like the Cleveland management bowed down to Smith and LeBron, who had gone out to the public in telling the Cavs to re-sign Smith at all costs.

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The Cavaliers might have overpaid for Smith, who reportedly got a contract offer from the Philadelphia 76ers. Other teams like the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and Brooklyn Nets were linked to Smith but there were no official serious talks between the parties.

Last season, Smith averaged 12.4 points in 77 starts for Cavs in the regular season. He played big in the NBA Playoffs making the crucial baskets for the Cavs especially in the NBA Finals against the Warriors. He scored in double figures in the final five games of the series and helped Cleveland get back from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven championship series.

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Smith’s value for the Cavaliers is his role as being the long-range shooter for the team. But his defense was lauded as well during the postseason run. He shot 40.0% from the three-point area in the regular season and 43.0% in the postseason.

No more contract negotiations drama between J.R. Smith and the Cavaliers and LeBron James will be happy that they can focus on defending the NBA championship.

Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons