New reports are stating that Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith has opted out of his player option for next season to test the free agency market. This could mean that the Cavs might enter the 2016-2017 season without their starting shooting guard.
According to Cleveland.com, Smith did not pick up his player option for next season, which is valued at $5.4 million. This means that by July 1, he will be an unrestricted free agent. But, despite his upcoming status, Smith noted that he has no plans of leaving Cleveland.
"This is where I want to be," he told the news site. "The fans love me; I love them and my teammates."
The Cavaliers will probably keep Smith until next season since he has been a valuable player for the team, especially during the current 2016 NBA Finals series. Sure, he tends to make mistakes sometimes, such as shooting a 30-foot airball at Game 6 with plenty of time left on the clock, but he also has his moments like when he made a no-look alley-oop pass to LeBron James during the same match.
For Smith though, he just probably wants to test his value once the free agency season begins. Now that he's in the finals for a second year, he likes to think that his reputation in the NBA has changed for the better.
"I'm not upset about my career, I'm just upset about how my name had been portrayed," he told ESPN. "A lot of guys have played with [James] and had success. There's nothing I can do about it. I've tried to change my image a million times."
"The market was going crazy, I mean it was ridiculous," he continued. "You see so many people getting paid. I started to look at myself in the mirror and was like, 'D***, am I really what everybody saying I am? Am I really a cancer? We'd just gotten to the finals and I'm not trying to toot my horn, but I thought I'd had a major part in that."
As for the rest of the Cavs, the team is preparing to head to Game 7 after defeating the Golden State Warriors at Game 6 to tie the series at 3-3.