Cleveland Cavaliers’ shooting guard J.R. Smith will not attend the team’s minicamp this week as he remains without a contract, according to reports from ESPN. Smith opted out of his contract earlier this offseason and is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal from the team.
Last year, Smith bet on himself by signing a deal that was only fully guaranteed for one season. He was a significant contributor to the Cavaliers team that beat the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.
According to the aforementioned ESPN report, both the Cavaliers and Smith are interested in him remaining in Cleveland. However, talks have stalled since July.
Smith has the same agent – Rich Paul – as LeBron James and Tristan Thompson, so it seems likely that a deal will eventually get done. Even so, just last year, Thompson sat out the entire preseason while he and the Cavaliers worked out a contract.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst offers that one of the reasons that Smith and the Cavaliers have failed to come to terms is that there has been a disparity in the contracts received by comparable shooting guards this offseason, ranging from Kent Bazemore’s four-year, $70 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks to Joe Johnson’s two-year, $22 million deal with the Utah Jazz.
With the veteran shooting guard now 31 years old with significant NBA mileage under his belt, the Cavaliers might be reticent about locking him up to a long-term deal. The franchise has reached long-term agreements with most members of their championship team over the past couple of offseasons, but many of those players are younger than Smith.
If the Cavaliers cannot reach a deal with the two-guard, many other teams are flush with cap space and will surely swoop in.