Tag: J.R. Smith

LeBron James, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes

Report: J.R. Smith’s 2015-16 salary becomes fully guaranteed Monday

1 Comment

J.R. Smith declined a player option that would have guaranteed him a $6,399,750 salary for this season alone.

Instead, he settled for a contract that guarantees him just $4.15 million over the next two years.

But that’s a little misleading. Another $3 million of his salary this season will become guaranteed Monday.

Eric Pincus of Twitter:

Pincus appears to be rounding Smith’s 2016-17 salary. If Smith has a base salary of exactly $5 million this season, the most Smith could make next season, which follows a player option, is $5,375,000. That would mean precisely 40% of Smith’s salary is guaranteed each season – which is important.

The percentage of a player’s base salary that is guaranteed in an option year must match the preceding season. It seems not fully guaranteeing Smith’s salary this season was just a workaround so the Cavaliers could guarantee less next season.

It’s nearly a formality Smith will get his entire $5 million this season. He just has to make it to Monday without Cleveland preferring paying him $4.15 million to go away rather than keeping him. That’d be a stunning reversal days after he signs.

I wonder how Smith will spend his weekend.

Report: J.R. Smith’s contract has less guaranteed money over two years than player option would’ve presented over one

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

J.R. Smith officially re-signed with the Cavaliers, and we already knew some terms of the deal – two years, starting at $5 million, player option.

Though he will make less than the $6,399,750 he could have gotten by opting in next season, it appeared Smith might have saved face by getting more money overall with his 2016-17 player option. It probably wasn’t a better deal than opting in, but it was was arguably a better deal than opting in. That’s something.

But it’s getting harder and harder for Smith to justify his decision given the results.

While all $6,399,750 of his player-option season would have been guaranteed, just $4.1 million of his new deal – counting both years – will be.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The big issue is how difficult the incentives are to reach. With easy benchmarks, this deal might be practically fully guaranteed.

It’s also worth noting the $2.1 million “guaranteed” to Smith for his second season might not actually be guaranteed.

Contracts with a player option dictate what happens to protected compensation – commonly called guaranteed money – for the season following the option if the player is waived before the option is exercised. Smith’s contract could say he doesn’t get any of that money if Cleveland waives him before he opts in. Given the other details we know, I suspect the contract does say that.

If it contains that clause, Smith can’t opt in until after the 2016 NBA Finals. Otherwise, if things start to go south, he could rush to opt in before the Cavaliers waive him. (Though if they make the Finals and want to waive Smith before the 2016-17 season, that could create an interesting race for filing paperwork. Could there be a scenario where they waive Smith during the Finals to ensure he can’t opt in before they waive him?)

Another thing we can deduce: Smith’s salary increases from this season to the following one. The percentage of base salary that is protected in an option year must match the season prior. Because we know Smith’s guaranteed money increases, his salary must also.

It’s official: J.R. Smith re-signs with Cavaliers

J.R. Smith

If J.R. Smith had opted in this summer, he would have made $6.5 million playing in Cleveland. He thought he could get more — he averaged 12.8 points per game after being traded to the Cavs last season, shot 39 percent from three, and played quality defense. Didn’t that merit a raise?

Wednesday Smith signed a new deal that will pay him $5 million this season, although it does give him a player option for the 2016-17 season. The Cavaliers announced it as official.

Smith didn’t have the leverage he thought he did. First, volume shooters such as himself have been going out of style around a league looking for efficiency at every turn. And Smith is a volume shooter. Then getting suspended for the first two games of the NBA Finals, followed by poor play and riding around on a Phunkee Duck when he did return didn’t help his cause.

Smith didn’t have other teams beating down his door, he wanted to stay in Cleveland, and that was going to mean a pay cut. He does have an option for next season, so he picks up a little security and makes more in the long run. But this couldn’t be what he imagined when it all started.


LeBron James: Championship not a requirement of a great team

LeBron James

LeBron James played for a 66-win team. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron and his teammates proved it wasn’t a fluke the next season, winning 61 games. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a team many feared would destroy the NBA’s competitive balance. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron formed yet another super team with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Didn’t win a title.

But – at least in LeBron’s eyes – that doesn’t mean those teams necessarily fell short of greatness.

LeBron, via Bleacher Report:

If you don’t know the history of the game, man, you’ll forget how many great teams didn’t win championships. And that doesn’t mean they wasn’t great, though.

LeBron was referring to the 2000 Western Conference finals. The eventual-NBA-champion Lakers beat the Trail Blazers in seven games. Portland – with a starting lineup of Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis – won 59 games and crushed the Jazz and Timberwolves before running into the Lakers.

I agree with LeBron’s premise. A team can be great without winning a title. Sometimes, a team just catches the wrong breaks, like playing in a season where there are multiple great teams.

Those Trail Blazers were borderline great, with both past and future success to support their consistency. They just ran into Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Nothing Portland could do about that.

But a title is an important consideration – the most important – when determining a team’s greatness. Personally, I think the 1999-00 Trail Blazers fall just short, but either argument is reasonable.

And for what it’s worth, I think all of LeBron’s title-less teams fall short of greatness for similar reasons, though last year’s Cavaliers played great between their midseason trades for Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith and the postseason injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Report: J.R. Smith’s two-year deal with Cavs includes player option and no-trade clause

J.R. Smith

Earlier on Thursday, J.R. Smith announced that he’s staying with the Cavaliers. He opted out of the final year and $6.5 million on his contract hoping to get a bigger deal, but after finding no takers, he signed what Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting is a two-year deal with a player option and a no-trade clause, which will pay him $5 million next season.

The reported deal is a loss of $1.5 million on what Smith would have made next season if he’d opted in, but now he has more control over his own future. If he has a good year, he can opt out and take another stab at free agency next summer when the cap goes up.

As for the no-trade clause, it’s triggered by this clause in the CBA (via Larry Coon’s indispensible CBA FAQ):

There are two additional circumstances in which a trade requires the player’s consent:

  • When the player is playing under a one-year contract (excluding any option year) and will have Larry Bird or Early Bird rights at the end of the season. This includes first round draft picks following their fourth (option) season, who accept their team’s qualifying offer for their fifth season. When the player consents to such a trade, his Larry Bird/Early Bird rights are not traded with him, and instead becomes a Non-Bird free agent.

Since the second year on Smith’s new deal is a player option, it’s essentially treated as a one-year deal. If he does consent to a trade away from the Cavs in his first year, his new team won’t have his Bird rights, which means they won’t be able to go over the cap to re-sign him.

Given the lack of options Smith had, this seems like a good deal for both sides. The Cavs get him for less than he would have made under his old contract, and he gets more security and control of his future.