After 4 months of waiting, J.R. Smith and the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally agreed to a new 4 year contract for $51 million dollars.
Many expected the Cavs to hold fast on their offer of $10 million a year, while J.R. sought $15 million for his services annually. The figure they finally agreed upon is much closer to what Smith was looking for, and it turns out there’s a very good reason why.
Before the deal was announced, it was understood that several teams were in talks with Smith’s representatives about signing him to a deal worth what he was asking for. As it turns out, the 76ers made an offer that scared the Cavs into giving in and offering Smith close to what he asked for.
ESPN sources say a hard push from Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo for J.R. Smith helped sparked Friday's talks with the Cavs to get a deal done
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 15, 2016
It’s not surprising that another team forced the Cavs hand. Smith would be a valuable addition to any line up, and the amount of money the Cavs had to cough up for him will force them to pay millions in luxury taxes every season. But it is surprising that the team that did it was the 76ers. The 76ers and the Cavs are currently pursuing the exact opposite strategies in the NBA; the Cavs want to keep huge stars in their prime on the team so they can win championships now. The 76ers, on the other hand, are much more focused on developing some extremely promising young talent to build a franchise for the future. It’s hard to see how Smith would fit into that plan.
Either way, the point is now moot. J.R. Smith will remain a Cleveland Cavalier for the future.