LeBron James has joined in in putting the pressure on the Cleveland Cavaliers to re-sign J.R. Smith. He made the statement just before he inked his new contract with the Cavs.
Last week, James turned to the Bleacher Report's Uninterrupted to announce that he will re-sign with the Cleveland organization. Then, he shared a photo of him actually signing his new contract, which is for three years and is worth $100 million.
But, going back to the clip, aside from confirming his decision to join Cleveland, James also noted that he's looking forward to being with the same group of people that he played with last season. Specifically, he said in the video that the Cavs should re-sign Smith, who is now the only remaining top free agent available in the market today.
"I just can't wait to get the group back together - the team, the franchise, more importantly get everybody together, the fans," he said in the video. "Without you guys, without your passion and commitment, we wouldn't have been able to do what we did this past season. I'm ecstatic."
"I can't wait to see my guys," he added. "I can't wait to get back out there in the wine and gold and just get the band back together. Lastly, let's get J.R. [Smith] done. It's that time."
Although James' statement is quite moving, probably the most important thing he said was his last two sentences. For some time now, it has been rumored that the only reason that the Cavs have not yet re-signed Smith was because they're waiting to finalize their deal with James. Apparently, this was to ensure that they're still financially stable to cover Smith.
But now that James' salary has been determined, the Cavs could start focusing on getting Smith. The problem here, however, is that Smith is reportedly asking too much from Cleveland, which according to reports, is around $15 million per season.
Rumors suggest that this is now the only factor preventing the Cavs from closing a deal with Smith. The team reportedly tried to negotiate with him by offering him $10 million a year but since this is still far from his asking price, it seems Smith is still waiting for the team to budge and give him a better contract, Sportsrageous reported.