Most often, NBA Final champions tend to keep the unit that won the championship together if possible. Some players leave after accomplishing their goal of winning a championship while others want to increase their jewelry and thus stay. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a whole different situation regarding J.R. Smith because both parties can’t seem to agree on Smith’s next contract.
J.R Smith wants to be paid his worth and has rightfully earned it. He played hard last season and was an important piece in winning a championship. The Cavaliers should be opening their checkbook and paying Smith what he is owed. That isn’t the case and the blame is all on Cleveland.
They are to blame for this situation arising and there is no easy way out. The Cavaliers are more than $23 million over their cap limit. Paying J.R. Smith is going to cost them an even heftier tax by the NBA for going over the limit. That is most likely why the Cavs are hesitant to pay Smith what he is asking for. Going over the cap limit is something most teams avoid but the Cavaliers needed every acquisition to beat the Golden State Warriors and are now paying the price (literally).
To make matters worse, Lebron James has put his two cents in the topic and he isn’t siding with Cleveland.
“Negotiations are always two-sides but J.R. did his part,” James said. “He showed up every day. Worked his ass off every day. Became a two-way player, a model citizen in Cleveland and he’s a fan favorite, obviously we all know that. All of the sudden now he’s a season ticket holder at the Indians games.”
James makes a valid point about Smith doing his part. If a player performs great, you reward him. That is not what is happening here and if it was any other player, they would have walked away already. Luckily for Cleveland, Smith wants to return to the team he fits in best with. There are few teams that can work with Smith to bring out the best of him and even fewer willing to even give him a chance. He should be back because what Lebron James says go at the end of the day.
“We just miss him,” said James. “We miss having him around. He’s a big piece of our team and they just need to get it done.”