J.R. Smith opted out of guaranteed money this summer in an effort to gain a longer, more lucrative contract. It was a calculated risk by Smith, who seemingly bet on his solid postseason – rather than his not-so-solid regular season – to translate into more money. Yet, here we are, just a few months left until training camp, with most of the remaining free agents scooped up by other teams, leaving Smith all by his lonesome.
Until today, that is, when Smith announced via Instagram that he’s returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Happy to say that I am returning to the Cavs! It’s been a long ride this summer but I can say for sure, well worth the wait. When I opted out of my contract, I wanted to understand the landscape of the NBA and where I fit best. The Cavaliers had things they needed to do in order to piece together a championship caliber roster. I ended up deciding that instead of potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere, I wanted to rejoin an incredible organization in pursuit of the ultimate goal, an NBA championship. Thank you to the Cavaliers for making this happen. Can’t wait to get started! #TheLand
Notice that Smith said he re-signed with the Cavaliers instead of “potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere.” It’s unclear if Smith meant another team in the NBA or perhaps overseas, maybe returning to China once more. There weren’t any reports of other teams courting Smith, so this could just be Smith saving some face (with whom, though, it’s not exactly clear). All of that is of little import now. Smith is back with the Cavaliers, and while the terms of his deal haven’t yet been reported, it would be shocking if it’s for more than what Smith was guaranteed had he not opted out of his original contract.