J.R. Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still in the middle of contract negotiations where both camps are not showing signs of lowering down their guards. In need of an accurate shooter, the Boston Celtics could take advantage of the situation and steal Smith from the Cavaliers.
After winning their first NBA title, the Cleveland Cavaliers are yet to bring back the core behind their last season achievement. When LeBron James re-signed, there is a growing optimism that the Cavaliers will also give J.R. Smith his new contract.
The Cavaliers have reportedly offered Smith a $10 million annual salary but the mercurial shooter is asking for an increase. As of now, the Cavaliers are already $8.6 million in the luxury tax before signing Smith. This is the major reason why the team is reluctant on giving him what he demands.
“The Cavs… are waiting for Smith to sign the deal they offered him. Smith is waiting for them to up their offer. The team offered somewhere between $10 million and $11 million, annually, while Smith is looking for more like $15 million annually. Isn’t this fun?” Joe Varden of Cleveland.com said.
With the current situation, it will not be a surprise if J.R. Smith becomes frustrated and hear offers from other teams.
Most NBA teams are in need of an accurate shooter, which is very important in the small-ball strategy. Last season, Smith improved his three-point percentage to 40 percent, knocking down crucial shots in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Boston Celtics have long been rumored to be interested in J.R. Smith. So far, Avery Bradley is their most reliable shooter who posted 36 percent in the three-point range. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that shooting will always be his team’s top priority, which was the major reason why they were easily eliminated in the 2016 NBA playoffs.
“Shooting is always going to be a priority,” Stevens said.
Knowing Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, he can always find a way just to get the player that his team needs. The Celtics will be needing to create cap space in order to give J.R. Smith an offer he cannot resist.
As of now, it is unlikely that LeBron James and the Cavaliers will let J.R. Smith sign with other teams. However, such things could possibly happen if Smith will decide to follow the footsteps of his former teammates Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova.
Photo courtesy: @teamswish/Instagram