According to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, free agent shooting guard, J.R. Smith, reportedly wants $15 million to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith, 31, has spent the last two season with Cleveland and was a huge piece of their championship puzzle.
Throughout the playoffs, J.R. Smith was consistently nailing shots from deep and turned on a defensive intensity that was seldom seen before it. His 43 percent clip through 21 games was scorching, and even though he didn’t stay that hot throughout the Finals, the threat of him was still enough to garner attention. Furthermore, when he was aggressive going toward the basket, Golden State had a fourth guy to worry about complementing LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love.
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Plus, he always has the green light. And has J.R. Smith ever been hesitant about shooting?
In 77 games with Cleveland, Smith shot 40 percent from downtown, and his 204 threes made put him at seventh overall in the NBA. That isn’t why the Cavaliers should sign him, though.
Chemistry rules everything. Championship teams win because of talent, but also because the guys gel together. Cleveland is the favorite to return to the Finals again, but they won’t win without Smith; he’s simply too valuable. Aside from the loss of Matthew Dellavedova, the Cavaliers roster remains the same, and the front office needs to recognize how much Smith’s teammates love having him on the team.
On the other side of the coin, J.R. had such high praise for the city of Cleveland, and is weighing aspects that go beyond basketball:
Financially, you can always go somewhere else. Team morale-wise, there are a few teams that I could see working. There are guys I would like to play with, guys I have played with. Being able to live in that city or a particular place, school systems, kids, family life — [with] free agency, everything comes into play. Before, I could just sit there and be like, ‘I don’t care where I go.’ But now I have the kids, and it’s like, ‘OK, what’s the best fit?’
Before this is all said and done, expect James to be a major factor should the front office choose to re-sign Smith. Both have the same agent, Rich Paul, and the way money was thrown around this summer, giving Smith $15 million wouldn’t be the worst investment.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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