J.R. Smith Gambled And Lost: Cavs Now Offering Less Than The Player Option He Turned Down
August 18 / Eric Goldschein / SportsGrid
Free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith could have been incumbent Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, if not for his hubris. The mercurial swingman opted out of a player option that would have paid him $6.4 million in 2015-16, hoping to cash in on a solid second half of last year.
Instead, Smith has languished in free agency, drawing little interest. Is it because no one wants to pay for a guy who shot 31 percent in the NBA Finals? Or is it because no wants to pay for a guy with a myriad of off-court issues over the years? Either way, in the interim, the Cavs have picked up other pieces (including ex-Cavs point guard Mo Williams) that make Smith less necessary to bring back. And thus, worth less.
The hard part for Smith is he knows he should have picked up the player option for $6.4 million for 2015-16. When he passed and became a free agent, he really believed a multi-year offer for more money was coming his way.
It didn't happen.
The Cavs have made him an offer. I hear it's less than $6.4 million that he turned down. They know Smith is not thrilled with a lesser deal. But right now, he has no leverage, and a one-year contract puts him in position to cash in next summer when the salary cap rises 30 percent.
Not signing a long-term deal may work out for Smith in the long run: If he has a stellar season and keeps out of trouble, he'll theoretically be able to sign a bigger deal once the salary cap jumps. But hopefully this offseason was another humbling experience for Smith, who for too long has been known as "the clown prince of basketball" and will need to shed that image before he can truly earn.
Photo via Getty
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