J.R. Smith opted out of a $5.4 million payday for the upcoming season, thinking he would get paid a little more after helping the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title.
Smith is still without a contract.
While Cavaliers GM David Griffin said at Summer League he was confident the Cavaliers would re-sign Smith — who has developed into a solid catch-and-shoot two guard off the ball — other teams have come calling. With more money. Smith was honest in an interview on ESPN about what he is thinking.
“I’ve thought about that situation (leaving Cleveland), and I’ve thought about it the other way, too, going back and winning again,” Smith said. “Both are juggled in the air and I’m kind of nervous about that choice when it gets presented to me.”
Smith averaged 12.4 points a game shooting 40 percent from three last season for Cleveland. He’s still in his prime at age 30 (31 when next season starts). He has real value on the open market, but he wants to stay in Cleveland where he can play with his AAU buddy LeBron James and have a chance to win. If Cleveland is using that desire to lowball him, it could backfire.
LeBron James also has yet to re-sign with the Cavaliers. LeBron has said he will be back with the Cavs, but he is taking his time with putting pen to paper.