Tag: J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith announces he’s re-signing with the Cavaliers


J.R. Smith’s return to the Cavaliers was always a matter of when, not if. He opted out of the final year and $6.5 million of his contract, hoping to secure a long-term deal after a solid season in Cleveland. But he found no market this summer after a terrible performance in the Finals, and re-signing with the Cavs seemed inevitable. Smith broke the news on Thursday evening with a post on his Instagram account.

Here’s what Smith said below the picture:

Happy to say that I am returning to the Cavs! It’s been a long ride this summer but I can say for sure, well worth the wait. When I opted out of my contract, I wanted to understand the landscape of the NBA and where I fit best. The Cavaliers had things they needed to do in order to piece together a championship caliber roster. I ended up deciding that instead of potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere, I wanted to rejoin an incredible organization in pursuit of the ultimate goal, an NBA championship. Thank you to the Cavaliers for making this happen. Can’t wait to get started!

It was always unlikely that another team would throw big money at Smith — what his inconsistent three years in New York and solid half-season with the Cavs proved beyond all doubt is that he’s not a first option on offense. He thrives spotting up for open threes, which is all he’s asked to do in a Cavs offense that includes LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Next up for the Cavs: re-signing Tristan Thompson. He has threatened to take the one-year qualifying offer and leave next summer, but the Cavs have no choice but to cave and offer him a max deal.

Report: Knicks interested in trade for Clippers’ Jamal Crawford

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers both see a value in former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford and realize that he remains their best trade chip. That’s why he was shopped around at the draft and early in free agency.

The fact the Clippers went out and got Lance Stephenson this summer adds to their wing depth and, in theory, makes Crawford more expendable. At least if you believe in bounce-back Lance. Crawford has been frustrated by what he sees written on the wall, but the Clippers are not just going to give him away so there has been no deal.

Who wants Crawford? How about the Knicks, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

On the surface you can see the logic there for the Knicks, adding that kind of scoring depth gives them a boost, and for a bubble playoff team in the East that could be enough to put them over the hump. Maybe. It certainly makes it an interesting discussion. For the Clippers, the question is who would they want off the Knicks roster? And do they trust Stephenson to be their sixth man on the wing?

All that may not matter — making this deal happen is very difficult.

The Knicks renounced their trade exception from the J.R. Smith deal this summer to get under the salary cap and go after Arron Afflalo and Robin Lopez. That means the Knicks have to send salary back to the Clippers in this deal. And they don’t have players that work for that under the cap. Former Nets exec and Twitter star Bobby Marks laid it out well:

Calderon may make some sense for the Clippers if they do not trust Austin Rivers — and based on past performance they should not trust Austin Rivers. (Clips fans, do not let a couple decent playoff games cloud your judgment.) But making this deal happen is challenging at best. The two sides likely have to wait until the guys signed this summer can be added to the deal, which means December at the earliest. Even then, I wouldn’t bet on it.

Report: Cavs likely to sign Russian center Sasha Kaun

Antreas Christodoulou, Sasha Kaun

The Cavs still haven’t worked out new deals with Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith, but they appear to be close to signing another player who’s been on their radar for a while. Russian center Sasha Kaun, a second-round pick in 2008, looks to be on the verge of finally making the jump over to the NBA.

From Cleveland.com’s Chris Haynes:

Veteran Russian center Sasha Kaun embarked on a mini-tour of Cleveland on Monday, league sources informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

His visit was for the purpose of house hunting, among other things, sources said.

Kaun, 30, and the Cavaliers have yet to reach an agreement. However, “it’s only a matter of time” before a deal is struck, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations. The Cavaliers’ main focus is on locking up a longtime pact with restricted free agent Tristan Thompson.

Kaun is to depart town on Tuesday and it is anticipated that a deal will not be finalized before his exit, I’m told.

The Cavs don’t have much to spend on Kaun — other than a minimum deal, they have about $1.2 million left in their taxpayer midlevel exception (they used $2.1 million of it on Mo Williams). It’s also doubtful that Kaun will get much playing time in a crowded frontcourt that includes Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov, Anderson Varejao and (once they inevitably re-sign him) Thompson. But at age 30, if Kaun was ever going to make the leap over to the NBA, now’s the time to do it.

Report: Cavaliers sign Quinn Cook

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers have just 11 players with guaranteed salaries, but their roster could fill up in a hurry.

Cleveland has Bird rights for Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, and draft rights for Sasha Kaun.

Just in case, the Cavs are bringing in other options. Jared Cunningham signed what appears to be a non- or partially guaranteed deal, and I’m guessing Quinn Cook is getting similar.

Brandy L. Simms of the Sentinel:

Thompson will almost certainly return. Whether it’s on long-term deal, matched offer sheet or qualifying offer, it’s difficult to see him playing for another team next season.

Smith isn’t getting the offers he wants, but it’s unlikely someone bests Cleveland’s offer. Plus, the Cavaliers offer him the best chance to impress before he next hits free agency.

Kaun is a tossup. The Cavs could use another center, but he might wait until they can offer more money.

Cleveland also has the Brendan Haywood trade exception, which it could use to add a player. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford is reportedly a possibility.

So, I wouldn’t count on Cook lasting to the regular season.

But he could potentially help an NBA team. Cook, who went undrafted out of Duke, is a steady point guard. He shoots well from outside and avoids mistakes. He has limited upside, but that’s the profile of a successful backup point guard.

I’m not sure there’s a place in Cleveland for him, though. The Cavaliers already have Kyrie Irving, Mo Williams and Matthew Dellavedova at point guard. If the roster fills as expected, a fourth point guard would be an unnecessary luxury.

But just in case it doesn’t – especially if Cleveland doesn’t re-sign Smith – Cook could fill a role at point guard with Williams playing more off the ball.

Report: Cavaliers offering J.R. Smith less than his player option would have paid

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

J.R. Smith declined his $6,399,750 player option in search of a better contract.

He hasn’t found one yet.

Unsurprisingly, he probably can’t even break even.

Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com:

The Cavs have made him an offer. I hear it’s less than $6.4 million that he turned down.

The Cavaliers’ top priority, as decreed by LeBron James, is re-signing Tristan Thompson. But re-signing Smith would also help Cleveland. His 3-point shooting is particularly valuable given the open looks LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love create by drawing so much attention.

If the Cavaliers don’t keep Smith, they could offer only a minimum salary (or a smidge more to a player with fewer than eight years of experience) for a replacement. That’s not going to net a shooter as good as Smith, unless Ray Allen comes out of retirement.

So, Smith has a little leverage.

But Cleveland has much more.

Only the 76ers and Trail Blazers can offer Smith at least $6.4 million. I doubt either rebuilding team would.

The Cavaliers, armed with the Brendan Haywood trade exception, could trade for a replacement. Jamal Crawford is reportedly on their radar. They might have higher hopes with that exception, but a trade is a suitable fallback option.

One question the Cavaliers must ask themselves: Do they want to retain Smith for the lowest possible amount, or would they prefer to keep him happy? Smith has a history of sulking when things go poorly. Matching his player-option salary would allow him to save face. That might be worth the extra money (and luxury-tax payments).

Right now, though, Cleveland clearly doesn’t think so.