Last summer was a bit of a wake-up call for J.R. Smith. Prior to a disappointing NBA Finals, he had been an excellent role player for the Cavaliers after a midseason trade from the New York Knicks. He had a player option to remain with the Cavs, but voided it in favor of free agency. As other players around the league signed lucrative deals, Smith waited. And waited. And waited some more.
Finally, the Cavs brought back Smith and he was the starting shooting guard for the whole year. He once again has fulfilled his role admirably. His defense has improved, and he doesn't take up a ton of possessions. It's been a nice year. He still will commit silly fouls on occasion, and he still isn't the smartest defender, but it's been hard to knock his effort for most of the year. Now, via a report from Cleveland.com's Chris Haynes, Smith is ready to be a free agent once again.
Cleveland Cavaliers sharpshooter J.R. Smith will allow his player option deadline of June 16 to pass in order to become a unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources informed cleveland.com.
Sources with knowledge of the situation spoke on the condition of anonymity due to sensitive nature of the timing. The Cavaliers are down 3-2 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Smith's reputation will still follow him around in the offseason, but with the salary cap jumping to over $90 million there will be plenty of team's with the means to sign him. All indications are that he enjoys playing with LeBron James and the Cavs, so it's just a matter of what the Cavs are willing to invest. Matthew Dellavedova will be a restricted free agent, and Iman Shumpert is under contract on a deal that he has so far not lived up to.
Shumpert has age on his side, but I would expect the Cavs to try and move him and then retain J.R.'s services.