Several NBA players parlayed a bet on themselves into massive contracts this summer. Greg Monroe landed a max deal from the Detroit Pistons, while K.J. McDaniels secured a $10 million deal from the Houston Rockets. J.R. Smith bet on himself earlier this summer, figuring a strong playoff performance would result in a larger deal than the $6.4 million he would have been owed this upcoming season if he had opted into the last year of his deal. Unlike McDaniels and Monroe, Smith’s bet hasn’t paid off. The mercurial guard remains unsigned, and few teams have approached him.
Does Smith regret opting out of the guaranteed money? Well, kind of, as he told Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group:
Asked if he regretted his decision to decline his contract option, Smith said “Uh, I mean, yes and no.
“No because I’ve gotten offers that I wanted, I mean numbers that I wanted, it’s just different situations,” Smith said. “Right now it’s just a matter of seeing what the Cavs come back to me with. Right now they give me the best opportunity to win.”
Given how there’s essentially no such thing as a secret in the NBA due to the reporting prowess of Marc Stein, Adrian Wojnarowski, Marc Spears, Sam Amick, Jeff Zilgitt and others, it’s a bit surprising that we haven’t heard of any of these offers Smith has apparently received.
It’s hard to blame J.R. for holding out hope the Cavaliers will bring him back — he’s meeting with the team this week, as Vardon reports – because why would any player not want to keep playing with a team that’s the odds-on favorite to return to the NBA Finals? If they do bring him back, it’s unlikely to be for the raise Smith desires. Yet if his heart is truly set on returning to the Cavaliers, he won’t have any choice but to accept the offer they tender him.