It took more than four months, but J.R. Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally agreed on a new deal to keep the streaky shooting guard in Northeast Ohio.
Many consider the deal luxurious and more than what they expected the Cavs to give him. With the Cavs sticking by their $10.5 million offer and Smith requesting a deal around $15 million, the two sides agreed on a deal around $4.2 million annually.
On Friday morning, ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that it was only a matter of time until Smith would begin to consider other options around the league.
There are currently six, for the record, with anywhere from $13 million to $27 million in available cap space: Minnesota, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.
Boston is not an active suitor for Smith, but sources say that’s only because the Celtics have a mere million-plus in cap space. Sources maintain that the Celtics’ reported interest in Smith is genuine, which means it’s wise to keep an eye on them, since creating cap space with the help of one of those aforementioned six clubs is certainly feasible.
While some teams expressed interest, one team’s serious interest forced the Cavs to up their offer, which Smith agreed to.
ESPN sources say a hard push from Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo for J.R. Smith helped sparked Friday's talks with the Cavs to get a deal done
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 15, 2016
It’s interesting to see that the Sixers pursued Smith, considering the difference in the team’s culture compared to the Cavs. The Sixers are clearly in a mode of rebuilding and focusing on the long term future of their young guys while the Cavs have been in win-now mode since J.R. Smith’s arrival to the team. Clearly, however, the Cavs knew they needed Smith back as well as what he brought to the team.