Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith says he’ll probably opt out of contract
Namely, his $6,399,750 player option.
Chris Broussard of ESPN:
JR Smith told me he'll probably opt out of the final year, $6.4 million of his contract— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 17, 2015
In a vacuum, there’s a case either way for Smith’s option.
Both are apt.
Smith is erratic, capable of both getting hot from beyond the arc and destructively moping on both ends of the floor.
He might not draw $6.4 million on the open market, but this could be a good time for Smith to lock into a long-term deal. He’ll turn 30 before next season, and he’s coming off an NBA Finals run – which tends to inflate players’ values.
But the elephant in the room is LeBron James.
LeBron and Smith seemed to click after Smith’s midseason trade from the Knicks. LeBron has spoken positively of Smith numerous times, and vice versa. They have each other’s backs.
And if LeBron has your back, you can probably get a nice contract from the Cavaliers. They’d surely rather pay Smith than risk upsetting LeBron.
If it helps them talk themselves into giving Smith a lucrative long-term deal, his spot-up shooting fits well around LeBron (and Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love). Smith makes Cleveland better, and even if the Cavs let him walk, they wouldn’t have cap room anyway. Re-signing Smith is nearly entirely about how much Dan Gilbert is willing to spend on this team – and that’s about keeping LeBron happy.
In LeBron, Smith has more than enough protection to opt out.