We’re less than two weeks away from training camps opening in the NBA, and one of the key rotation players of the defending champion Cavaliers remains unsigned.
J.R. Smith became an unrestricted free agent this summer, and while he didn’t pursue opportunities with any other team, he hasn’t yet come to terms on a contract that will keep him in Cleveland next season. Smith shed some light on the subject in a recent interview with Adam Caparell of Complex Sports.
“Well, obviously we’re not where we want to be at from a personal standpoint,” says Smith. “But it’s more than just numbers. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of the Cavs for everything they’ve done for me, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. It’s more of a mutual respect thing.”
Translation: The two sides remain far apart financially.
Smith was under contract for around $5 million last season. With the salary cap spiking upwards of 30 percent this summer, he should be able to double that with ease on an annual basis over the next few years.
It’s worth noting that it wouldn’t be unheard of for a prominent member of the Cavaliers to miss part of training camp while negotiating his next deal. We saw this with Tristan Thompson last year, when he held out for almost the entire preseason before coming to terms on a five-year contract worth $82 million just six days before the Cavaliers opened the regular season.
It’s widely expected that Smith will be back with the Cavs. The numbers, however, have yet to be worked out.