With just one week to go before training camp kicks off, J.R. Smith is still without a deal to return to the Cavaliers, and ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reports that his status will cause him to miss this week’s minicamp with the team.
J.R. Smith will not attend the Cleveland Cavaliers minicamp this week in California as he and the team remain at an impasse in contract talks, sources told ESPN.com
Smith’s agent, Rich Paul, and the Cavs have been in a standoff since July after Smith opted out of his contract. No recent progress has been made in the talks, sources said. Smith, who played a significant role at both ends is seeking a multiyear deal.
Everyone expects Smith to end up back in Cleveland eventually, even if it takes a while, but there are a handful of other teams who could theoretically still offer him a deal if they wanted to. Most teams have used up their cap space for the summer, but three still have more than $17 million left and three more could offer him eight figures per year.
Philadelphia 76ers ($23 million in cap space): The Sixers have plenty of money and a promising young core. The Colangelos have signed some veterans this summer to reverse three years of tanking, but they’ve mostly been under-the-radar locker-room leaders like Gerald Henderson. Plus, Philly already signed Jerryd Bayless, so they’ve filled their quota of backcourt gunners. Smith doesn’t fit with their timeline.
Denver Nuggets ($20 million in cap space): The Nuggets have the cap space to make a J.R. return to Denver happen. But they’re fully committed to the youth movement at this point, and signing a 31-year-old guard who needs a lot of touches would hinder the development of Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. As fun as it would be to see him back in Colorado in light of some recent law changes there, it doesn’t fit Denver’s timeline at all.
Brooklyn Nets ($18 million in cap space): Smith could reunite with his one-time Knicks teammate Jeremy Lin, who signed a three-year deal in Brooklyn this summer. But he has a history of being a little too fond of the nightlife in New York. The Billy King-era Nets may have taken a hard look, but with new GM Sean Marks and new coach Kenny Atkinson committed to developing their younger players, there isn’t much of a fit here, either.