J.R. Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers remain in a stalemate. Despite spending time around the team in Cleveland lately, it is unclear when the free agent guard and the defending champions will be able to agree on terms for a new contract. Smith, who is represented by Klutch Sports’ Rich Paul, LeBron James’ agent, is looking for $15 million annually, and the Cavaliers have offered him $10-11 million per year, according to cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.

Last week, James told reporters in Cleveland that Smith “did his part” and “they just need to get it done,” cautioning that “it wouldn’t be good for any side” if Smith didn’t return, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. At that time, ESPN reported that the Cavs were not about to give him $15 million per season:

Multiple sources told ESPN that the Cavs have offered a three-year escalating contract to Smith with a partial guarantee in the fourth year, bringing the total guaranteed money north of $42 million — the same amount Jamal Crawford got when he re-signed with the LA Clippers this offseason, except his deal only included $30.5 million guaranteed.

A source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN on Friday about the Cavs’ offer: “I don’t see it changing anytime soon.”
A “Where’s J.R.?” sign for J.R. Smith in Cleveland

At media day, Cleveland general manager David Griffin called its offer to Smith “incredibly competitive and aggrssive,” and said twice that the team hopes a deal gets done “in very short order.” The ship has sailed on that front, but it would still be surprising if the two sides failed to figure this out before the start of the regular season.

Last season, the Cavs signed Tristan Thompson to a five-year, $82 million offer after preseason ended. At 31 years old, Smith obviously isn’t going to get that kind of money, but $12 million a season or so sounds reasonable for a 40-percent 3-point shooter who was an essential part of Cleveland’s first NBA championship. Smith doesn’t have a ton of other options in free agency, but neither do the Cavs — since they’re over the salary cap, his departure would mean that they’d have to get by with Iman Shumpert and Mike Dunleavy in Smith’s place.


Courtesy: CBS Sports


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