J.R. Smith is yet to sign a new deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and there are speculations that several teams have already expressed their interest to sign the 31-year-old shooting guard. Will Smith leave the Cavaliers?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have managed to win their first NBA championship title after defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. With the goal of repeating as champions, the Cavaliers are expected to retain their roster by re-signing their own free agents.
Unfortunately, the expensive contracts of some of their key players like LeBron James and Kevin Love made it harder for the Cavaliers to give what their free agents demand. When free agency started, the Cavaliers lost two of their bench players, Timofey Mozgov and Matthew Dellavedova, after receiving lucrative contracts from other teams.
So far, J.R. Smith is currently a free agent and there is no official confirmation when he will re-sign with the team. In August, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insider revealed that the Cavaliers initially offer Smith $10 million annually. The 31-year-old shooting guard declined the offer and was reportedly demanding $15 million per season.
LeBron James sent a message to the Cavaliers’ management regarding Smith’s contract negotiation. However, it was hard for the team to give such deal since they are already $8.6 million in the luxury tax before signing Smith. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News revealed that several NBA teams are expressing their interest in signing J.R. Smith.
“It is likely that Smith, a one-time Sixth Man of the Year with the Knicks, will re-sign with Cleveland but there are several teams that have an interest in the shooting guard. One team is the Boston Celtics, whose second unit could certainly use a little scoring punch,” Isola reported.
Aside from the Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks are also rumored to be interested in acquiring their former shooting guard. The Knicks currently have an open spot at 2 and he will definitely be a good backup for Courtney Lee. Smith’s championship experience will help the Knicks in achieving their goal in the upcoming season.
Despite the interest to acquire the mercurial shooter, it is a big question for the Celtics and the Knicks if they could give what J.R. Smith demands. The only way he will decide to leave the Cavaliers is if a team give him a $15 million annual salary or higher.
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