JR Smith, Cavs are reportedly $5 million per year apart
The Cleveland Cavaliers and J.R. Smith are in a classic contract stalemate, and at the moment it seems like there is no end in sight.
According to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the Cavs are simply waiting for Smith to cave and sign the last contract they formally offered him. However, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, as Vardon reports Cleveland offered somewhere in the range of $10 to $11 million per year and Smith is seeking $15 million annually.
But as far apart as the two sides are, there has been no indication that Smith is seriously entertaining offers from other teams. That said, he is undoubtedly aware of some of the big-money deals that have been signed already by free agents this offseason. Jeremy Lin, who has not done anything special since the Linsanity outburst with the New York Knicks, signed with the Brooklyn Nets at $13 million annually for three years. Looking at that deal, you can understand why Smith is not going to accept $10 million.
Smith doesn’t want to leave Cleveland, and probably the best thing in this negotiation for him is that he shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron James. Better yet, LeBron recently called out the Cavs for not getting a deal done with Smith, and we know how much pull King James has within the organization.
Ultimately, Smith and the Cavs should come to an agreement. However, as Vardon notes, there’s no guarantee the contract will be signed before the start of the season. The Cavs will be fine during the regular season without Smith, so they’re in no rush. That’s not to say he’ll sit out the entire year until the playoffs, but signing him before the season is not a requirement.