The Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly offered shooting guard J.R. Smith less money than the $6.4 million originally negotiated in his player option for next season after the 29-year-old declined the option in order to become a free agent. However, Smith has been unable to find a new home and the Cavaliers seem to be the only team interested in him leaving minimal room for debate.
The report comes from Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Cleveland has placed a one-year offer on the table that would bring Smith back to the defending Eastern Conference champions for the 2015-2016 season.
Smith was acquired by the Cavaliers along with Iman Shumpert in a February trade with the New York Knicks and appeared in 46 regular season games for the franchise. Averaging 12.7 points per game for the Cavaliers following the acquisition, Smith helped Cleveland return to the NBA Finals while averaging 12.8 points per game in the postseason.
Thrust into a larger role for the Finals due to an injury to starting point guard Kryie Irving, Smith struggled en route a 31 percent shooting performance including 29 percent from behind the arc. Smith believed that his strong play earlier in the postseason would lead to a larger contract this offseason, but he couldn’t be more wrong.
It seems as though Smith’s baggage carries a higher risk than it would a reward with him on a roster. With his previous track record including two separate suspensions last season, Smith’s performance down the stretch ultimately resulted in an elevated ego and less money.
Ironically enough, Smith’s teammate with both the Knicks and Cavaliers in Iman Shumpert signed a four-year deal with Cleveland on July 1 worth $40 million.