It seems like LeBron James is not happy with the way the Cleveland Cavaliers negotiations team is handling J.R. Smith’s free agency as ‘King James’ showed his frustrations during an interview at the team’s training camp Friday. James feels like the Cavs need to re-sign J.R. Smith because according to him, “J.R. did his part”.
“Negotiations are always two-sides, but J.R. did his part,” James said. “He showed up every day. Became a two-way player, a model citizen in Cleveland and he’s a fan favorite, obviously we all know that. All of the sudden now he’s a season ticket holder at the Indians games.”
“We just miss him. We miss having him around. He’s a big piece of our team and they just need to get it done,” James added.
According to ESPN, sources confirmed that the Cavs have offered a three-year contract to Smith with a partial fourth year guarantee worth $42 million. This is the same amount LA Clippers offered Jamal Crawford this off-season with a guaranteed $30.5 million.
Smith became an unrestricted free agent after he opts out of his $5.3 million player option for the 2016-2017 season in July. He averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals, hitting 204 3-points in 77 starts for the Cavs.
Report says that the two superstars are close friends under the same agent, Rich Paul. So the reaction from the King wasn’t as much as a surprise for many. Although in last year’s dilemma with teammate Thompson, James was seen as much more diplomatic.
“I hate coming into another season — two years in a row — with one of my big guns not here,” James said referencing teammate Tristan Thompson’s contract negotiation last year. “So, for a leader of a team and for me personally, I just hate to deal with this s— again.
“It’s just too big of a piece to our team to have to deal with in another training camp. Like I said, hopefully things get resolved fast, because you know how big and important he is to our team.”
Although James is hopeful that the Cavs will re-sign J.R. Smith, he stated that he’s ready for any outcome with his teammate’s free agency and clears, “J.R. is a free agent, he’s not ours.”
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