After witnessing J.R. Smith turn his reputation around, for better, in Northeast Ohio and finding his niche in a championship team, his future has suddenly became unclear.
While it’s no secret that him and the Cleveland Cavaliers are mutually aiming to strike a deal that is best for both parties, stranger things have happened in free agency. A couple of wildcards come into play when it comes to negotiations – the interesting development of Jordan McRae and the fact that Smith’s agent is Rich Paul.
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Paul’s presence may, or may not, work out for a return to Cleveland because he is known to be a very aggressive when it comes to these talks, but he is also LeBron James’ business partner.
However, if things go wayward for Smith and the Cavs, there is one other East contender who could sneak into the picture and that is the Boston Celtics. ESPN’s Chris Forsberg weighed in on the idea in his recent article.
Boston has an obvious need for shooting, and everyone in the organization has been looking for more impact talent. The move would weaken a primary Eastern Conference rival. The Celtics wouldn’t mortgage any of their future flexibility with a short-term deal. And exec Danny Ainge would gain a golfing buddy.
So far so good for the prospect. But Forsberg also pointed out some challenges in making this work because of the Celtics’ bevy of guards.
The Celtics have quality depth at the guard spot with All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and NBA All-Defensive Team first-teamer Avery Bradley in the starting lineup. There are high hopes for third-year guard Marcus Smart, and second-year guard Terry Rozier had an excellent summer and should find a rotation role.
It should be noted that J.R. Smith once had a run-in with Jae Crowder, leaving the Celtics’ defensive specialist with a knee injury.
Let’s say Danny Ainge somehow found a way to inject J.R. Smith, the whole package, into the team’s dynamics. This should add a lot more color to the old Cavaliers-Celtics rivalry that is steadily finding its way back in the limelight.
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But in reality, a move is still unlikely. Smith fits the Cavaliers’ scheme of things like a glove, and the team embraces him for who he is. All that’s left is really the money aspect, which is something that has never been a problem for Dan Gilbert.