According to various league insiders, it seems J.R. Smith is looking to get a big payday by re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers since he is reportedly asking for $15 million per season. But given the team's limited cap space, this figure could spell the end for Smith as a member of the Cavs lineup.
After winning the 2016 NBA championships, Smith and a number of Cavs players including LeBron James became free agents. But since they are part of the core team that led Cleveland to dominate at the finals, it's expected that they will get re-signed by the Cavs.
For Smith, even though his place in the team for next season is not yet certain, Cleveland will probably retain him if all goes well in their contract negotiations. However, according to new rumors, it seems the Cavs might have a hard time retaining Smith if his asking price is too high.
JR Smith wants to remain in Cleveland, but wants $15 million per season. (@BR_NBA).
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 17, 2016
JR Smith wants a reported $15 mil a season. Cavs no cap room, do they pay the tax on JR, or let him go? JR was a huge piece towards winning. — Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 17, 2016
Yikes... hearing JR Smith seeking huge deal to return to Cavs, in the $15m per year range. Can Cavs really pass on bringing him back?
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 17, 2016
$15 million a year who averaged 12.4 points per game last season is certainly too high for any team. And, as Sportsrageous pointed out, during his entire stint in the NBA, he never received more than $7 million per season, which makes his alleged salary demand a bit ridiculous and unfair.
If these reports are true, and if Smith insists on this price, then there's a good chance that the team will let him go. After all, they are operating on limited cap space and still have other members to sign, such as Tyronn Lue and James, who recently said that he will re-join the team for next season. However, it is not yet clear if he will go for a one-year deal or a multi-year contract with the team.
As for Smith, it's acceptable for the athlete to ask for a higher salary especially since he's part of the group that claimed the championship for Cleveland. But at $15 million per season, that's asking way too much for a team that has limited financial resources to spare.
Hopefully though, the Cavs and Smith will be able to work out a more logical and mutually beneficial deal soon.