The Golden State Warriors ended their 2015-16 NBA season with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson broke the Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan 72-win record in the regular season, they fell short in defending their title against LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. However, it looks like the Golden State Warriors have a plan B in the works which also involves the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Rumors are rife that the JR Smith free agency train will once again leave the LeBron James squad. Given his latest performance in the NBA Finals Game 7, it comes as no surprise that a number of teams are seeking to sign a deal with him. However, it looks like the Golden State Warriors are gunning to be first in line for Smith.
The 30-year-old small forward was one of the surprise players in the NBA Finals 2016. While LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were easily identified as the superstars to carry the Cleveland Cavaliers, the presence of JR Smith in the last three games against the Golden State Warriors proved to be crucial to the team. Moreover, his remarks following the Game 7 win of the Cleveland Cavaliers hinted on his changed attitude towards life and basketball.
"I mean, my parents, my family, that's the biggest inspiration in my life," shared Smith in the press conference following the 93-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors. He added, "I've been in a lot of dark spots in my life, and if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to get out of it. But they are who they are."
He added, "They fought with me. They yelled at me, they screamed at me, they loved me, they hugged me, they cried with me, and they always stuck by my side no matter right or wrong. I mean, I don't really -- the cars are nice, the houses are nice, but none of this matters without them. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here. I don't know where I would be, honestly. If it wasn't for them, if it wasn't for the structure and the backbone that I have, I wouldn't be able to mess up and keep coming back and being able to sit in front of you as a world champion."
Prior to rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2015-16 NBA season, Smith was with the Hornets from 2004 to 2006. He also played for the Denver Nuggets. During his stint with the New York Knicks, Phil Jackson opted to include him in the three-way trade that also sent Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov in the Cleveland Cavaliers roster.
At the moment, speculations are arising regarding the future of JR Smith in the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some believe that the LeBron James squad might opt to simply keep Iman Shumpert as he has the advantage of age. However, it looks like the efforts of Smith in the NBA Finals 2016 will weigh heavily in the decision. Moreover, he appears to have the full support of King James to stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"Just understand what J.R.'s been through and people just saying that there's no way he can be a winner," shared James of his teammate. The NBA Finals MVP added, "When our GM came to us last year and said, 'Hey, we've got a deal to get Timofey Mozgov and get Iman Shumpert, and the Knicks are going to throw in J.R.' I was like, 'What? They're going to throw in J.R. into the deal?' And I was like, 'Okay, I've got him. I got him.' And J.R. turned himself into not only a huge boost to our team, but he turned himself into a two-way player, both sides of the floor."