With just a few weeks away from the start of the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are essentially returning the same roster that won the championship in June. LeBron James is coming back and
Richard Jefferson decided not to retire and re-signed. However, the one key player that is still unsigned is J.R. Smith.
The Cavs want Smith back and he wants to return as well, yet no deal has been reached between the two sides. Despite this, Smith remains optimistic and believes he we will be re-signing in Cleveland soon.
Smith, believe it or not, is still a free agent with Cleveland’s training camp just weeks away on Sept. 27. He has no idea when he’ll sign with the Cavaliers–“Soon, I hope,” he says. Cleveland is realistically the only team Smith can sign with for the money he’s looking for. So what’s the hold up?
“Well, obviously we’re not where we want to be at from a personal standpoint,” says Smith. “But it’s more than just numbers. I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of the Cavs for everything they’ve done for me, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. It’s more of a mutual respect thing.”
“Yes and no. It depends on how you look at it,” says Smith. “Financially, you can always go somewhere else. Team morale-wise, there are a few teams that I could see working. There are guys I would like to play with, guys I have played with. Being able to live in that city or a particular place, school systems, kids, family life–[with] free agency, everything comes into play. Before, I could just sit there and be like, ‘I don’t care where I go.’ But now I have the kids, and it’s like, ‘Ok, what’s the best fit?'”
Back in July the Cavs and Smith remained “apart” on contract discussions, and it seems like now in September, things haven’t really moved along. However both sides at least want the same thing, plus James has advocated for Smith and the Cavs to come to an agreement. And since James’ words holds a lot of weight around the organization, it wouldn’t be surprising if Smith is right and he re-signs in Cleveland relatively soon.
Source: CBS Sports / J.R. Smith on when he will re-sign with Cavs: ‘Soon, I hope’