For Richard Jefferson winning a championship ring caps his 14-year career in the NBA and a retirement would be fitting, but rumors have it that he has overturned his early decision to retire and would re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers for one more year, which he considers as his final season.
During the locker room celebration after winning Game 7 and the team’s first ever NBA Championship title against the Golden State Warriors, the 36-year old Jefferson openly stated that he is retiring on top with a championship ring. Once teammates heard of it, they thought Jefferson has just carried away with the moment, but as the days leading to their victory parade, things took a different course.
When it was Jefferson’s turn to speak to the crowd and fans, the chant of “one more year” could be heard and he then stated that he would stay for another year if the fans would want him to stay. His statement was met with a loud cheer from fans and from his teammates as well. He noted that his teammates led by LeBron James has talked about his retirement plans, hinting that King James is coming back to defend their title and dismiss rumors of playing for another team next season.
“If you guys want me to play one more year, I’ll play one more year,” he said, sparking a roar from the crowd.
Jefferson has been an effective contributor for the Cavaliers off the bench. In Game Three of the NBA Finals, Jefferson broke free as he nailed nine points, pulled eight rebounds and added two assists in their 120-90 win over the Warriors to score a win and avoided a crucial sweep in the finals. In the pivotal Game 7, Jefferson grabbed nine rebounds that helped energize and contribute to the Cavaliers cause to win their first in NBA championship title after 52 years.
Jefferson, who will be an unrestricted free agent, has a cap hit of $947, 276 and with the increased salary cap for next season, it won’t be a surprise if he gets a hefty contract to be back on the Cavaliers’ roster. However, since he is not under a contract with the Cavaliers for next season, talks will surely take its toll when free agency starts on July 1 and Jefferson hopes that the team would give him a decent offer in going to his last season.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr