Since the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title in June, there has been reported mutual interest in veteran guard J.R. Smith returning to the team for the 2016-17 season. Yet, they have reached no agreement so far. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the two sides still haven’t moved closer to a deal.
The Cavaliers have reportedly offered Smith between $10 million and $11 million annually to return to the team, but that hasn’t enticed Smith to this point, as he’s looking for a contract worth around $15 million per year. With teams well into the preseason schedule, there are still a handful of teams with over $13 million remaining in cap space, and Stein reports that it’s only a matter of time before Smith starts looking for employment elsewhere.
Stein also confirms that the Boston Celtics have genuine interest in the veteran sharpshooter, although they don’t have the cap space to make a competitive offer. They could clear some cap space in a salary dump trade to any of the teams with ample room under the cap to make an addition of Smith financially feasible, but it may not be worth it.
In other Cavaliers news, Stein mentions that there are rumbles that Cleveland is intrigued by the possibility of reuniting James and Mario Chalmers whenever the free-agent point guard is healthy enough to return to the court. Chalmers is currently recovering from Achilles surgery in March, and he’s about a month from being ready for action.
Despite on-court appearances and histrionics, Chalmers and James apparently got along well in Miami. Of course, they also won multiple championships there, which would certainly help matters.