JR Smith is still without a team in 2016 free agency and there are rumors that the holdout with his contract situation with the Cleveland Cavaliers is that the shooting guard is demanding about $15 million per season.
Smith has been linked in offseason speculations to teams like the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers but it’s likely that teammate LeBron James will do everything in his power to influence the Cavs management to try to retain a key piece in their championship run last season.
Here are some NBA writers on social media reporting on JR Smith’s demand for a $15M/year deal:
Yikes… hearing JR Smith seeking huge deal to return to Cavs, in the $15m per year range. Can Cavs really pass on bringing him back?
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 17, 2016
JR Smith wants a reported $15 mil a season. Cavs no cap room, do they pay the tax on JR, or let him go? JR was a huge piece towards winning.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 17, 2016
JR Smith wants to remain in Cleveland, but wants $15 million per season. (@BR_NBA).
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 17, 2016
JR Smith, already 30 years old, is looking for his first big contract in the NBA. In 12 years in the league, with stints with the New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Cavaliers, Smith never earned more than $7 million per season.
From all reports, the Cavaliers want Smith back for another season to defend their NBA title, which they won over the Golden State Warriors last June.
However, at $15M/year there are NBA rumors that Cleveland management is thinking twice especially as they let go already of free agents Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks) and Timofey Mozgov (Los Angeles Lakers).
What works for Smith’s favor is that LeBron James has some influence in the decision-making of the Cavaliers. James has yet to re-sign in Cleveland and he may be waiting for the final roster of the Cavaliers before committing to the team.
JR Smith averaged 12.4 points per game in the 2015-2016 regular season but stepped up his defense in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
Re-signing Smith at $15M/year, if the NBA rumors are true, will be costly for the Cavaliers as they will hit the luxury tax once again with the big contracts of James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson.
However, they are the champions and the Cavaliers will do everything to keep the key guys, like JR Smith, in their team in their title defense next season.
Photo courtesy: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons