According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein, free agent guard J.R. Smith may soon open negotiations with other teams as his negotiations with the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to go nowhere.
Per Stein, it’s only ‘a matter of time’ until Smith begins talking to other teams. From his report:
The Cavs, according to league sources, were offering an annual salary in the range of $10 million to $11 million for some time and any subsequent movement northward hasn't been sufficient to close the gap on what Smith is seeking.
Sources say it's only a matter of time before Smith starts engaging with other teams. There are currently six, for the record, with anywhere from $13 million to $27 million in available cap space: Minnesota, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Brooklyn and Philadelphia.
Boston is not an active suitor for Smith, but sources say that's only because the Celtics have a mere million-plus in cap space. Sources maintain that the Celtics' reported interest in Smith is genuine, which means it's wise to keep an eye on them, since creating cap space with the help of one of those aforementioned six clubs is certainly feasible.
Of the teams with the cap space to sign Smith for the money he wants, none really seem to the be the type of team and organization that really needs a player like Smith. The Jazz could maybe use a player like Smith - especially with Gordon Hayward out - but 1) he’ll be back sooner rather than later, 2) Stein also reported that the Jazz don’t want to make a fill-in signing and 3) can you really imagine J.R. Smith signing to play in Utah, where you can’t buy any alcohol after 1 a.m.?
Additionally, Smith has been in Cleveland and hanging out with the Cavs for about a week now He’s been to Indians games, a Browns game and an Ohio State game. He’s also said that he wants to be back and it’s clear that the team wants him back. The Celtics’ interest is interesting, but as noted, Boston would have to create cap space to sign Smith for the kind of money he wants.
Ultimately, Smith will probably be back with the Cavs next season. At best, talking to other teams and getting even a single could possibly force the Cavs to up their offer. Until then, both sides still wait for the other to blink.