The next best thing to winning a championship with LeBron James is having LeBron lobby for the team to re-sign you.
J.R. Smith experienced both over a two-month span last summer; a title with LeBron followed by a strong endorsement from the best player on the planet.
“Let’s get J.R. done,” LeBron said on “Uninterrupted” the day he announced he was re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “It’s that time.”
That video was recorded more than a month ago and Smith remains a free agent without a team. His contract negotiations with the Cavs remain at an impasse and according to ESPN, Smith will not attend the Cavaliers’ minicamp this week in Santa Barbara. The Cavs held a similar pre-camp, team bonding workout session last year in Miami.
It is unlikely that Smith and the Cavs will reach an agreement prior to the start of training camp on Monday. And there is no reason to be optimistic that Smith will be signed by the Oct. 25 season opener against his former team, the Knicks, and his good friend, Carmelo Anthony.
The Cavs will receive their championship rings that night and will have a banner raising ceremony. Smith would like nothing more than to be a part of the festivities, especially since it was Knicks president Phil Jackson who traded him to Cleveland.
Smith is looking to land a multi-year contract for approximately $15 million annually. By comparison, the Hawks re-signed Kent Bazemore for $70 million over four years. Jamal Crawford inked a $42 million contract over three years with the Clippers.
And remember, neither Bazemore nor Crawford had LeBron publicly endorsing them. LeBron has his reasons; he genuinely likes Smith and knows he can win with him. Moreover, LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, also happens to be Smith’s agent.
Last October, Tristan Thompson held out of training camp before signing a five-year, $82 million contract. His agent is Rich Paul. Thompson’s leverage broker was LeBron. Notice a pattern here?
There is one major difference this time around, however. When LeBron was stumping for Thompson he was a year away from free agency himself. The Cavs had every intention of re-signing Thompson but they also had added motivation/pressure.
James, though, isn’t a free agent on July 1st. The deal he signed with Cleveland includes a opt-out clause but not until July 1, 2018. J.R. and Paul lost a little leverage once the ink was dry on LeBron’s new deal.
The last thing the Cavs want is to anger LeBron. But it’s clear they’re also in no hurry to throw a long-term contract in front of Smith.
The club would prefer a short-term deal while Smith feels he made a sacrifice last September by agreeing to a deal that was only fully guaranteed for one season at $5 million.
Smith then averaged 12.4 points per game last season, shooting 40% from the 3-point line while helping Cleveland to its first major pro sports championship in 52 years.
Hours after winning the title, Smith was photographed partying in Las Vegas with his teammates but without a shirt. He also went topless for the Cavs victory parade. Now, he’s without a team or a contract but he has LeBron in his corner.
That is still worth something.
- LaVar Ball says his son will make LeBron James ‘better’ – as long as Lonzo has the ball
- LeBron James deal is Magic Johnson’s masterpiece
- LeBron James wrecked the Cavaliers? Really?
- LeBron James: What is his legacy with Cleveland Cavaliers?
- Warriors’ Mike Brown on coaching LeBron James & James joining Lakers
- Can LeBron James Still Attract the Best NBA Talent?
- Heisler: With LeBron James in hand, Lakers eye Kawhi Leonard or Kevin Durant next year
- LeBron's exit lessens the team's bargaining power, poses long-term business challenge
- LeBron James groin injury: MRI for Lakers star. How long will he be out?
- LeBron James still injured; can't play for Lakers vs. Kings
- Jesse Jackson wishes MLK 'had gotten to meet' LeBron James, compares him to Ali
- How LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers affects the Utah Jazz, NBA's Western Conference
- LeBron James free to make a move: Crowquill
- After a long summer, LeBron James eases back onto center stage with the Lakers
- LeBron James, Lakers make pitch to Anthony Davis in win over Pelicans
- Niyo: NBA has become a soap opera, with LeBron James the leading man
- Opinion: Gregg Williams built case for Browns job, but he's likely not right long-term fit
- With LeBron heading West, path clear for Celtics to NBA Finals
- After LeBron: Does Cleveland Have a Plan B Without James?
- NBA notebook: Kyrie Irving asks Cavaliers to trade him
Cavaliers don’t want to anger LeBron James but in no rush to give J.R. Smith long-term deal have 761 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at September 19, 2016. This is cached page on Game Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.