The Cleveland Cavaliers and J.R. Smith are still at an impasse regarding a new contract with the Boston Celtics ready to swoop in. The latest NBA rumors imply that the Cavs might let Smith go with Iman Shumpert impressing the coaching staff in the preseason.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Celtics are prepared to make the necessary trades to clear cap space for the mercurial shooting guard. They currently have $9 million in cap space with Smith looking for an annual salary of $15 million.
The Cavaliers have already made their offer, a deal with a $10-$11 million salary per year, but the camp of J.R. Smith rejected it. The NBA season is just a couple of weeks away and the time for both sides to come up with a deal is ticking.
With Smith’s absence being a problem, the Cavs have gone with Iman Shumpert as the team’s starting SG in the preseason. Shumpert is impressive this preseason, showing his improved shooting to couple with his usually great defense.
Head coach Tyronn Lue praised his game saying that his role will not change whether they are with or without J.R. Smith. Kyrie Irving is also pretty happy with Shumpert’s performance and he offered his insight into the situation.
“J.R. here or J.R. not here, Shump still has the same role on our team and that’s to come out and be a stopper every single night and take and make his open shots,” Lue told Chris Fedor of cleveland.com.
“He understands that and he’s filling in for J.R. right now. He’s our starting two-guard right now,” Irving added.
It should be noted that these are just NBA rumors at the moment and should be taken with a grain of salt. Many believe that J.R. Smith will eventually sign a deal with the Cavs but he might not be the starter heading into the season.
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