The Cavs continued training camp on Friday afternoon, and J.R. Smith remains absent from the team as an unsigned free agent. LeBron James is sick of it. He opened up to the media in a manner that was a bit more forceful than what he exhibited a year ago for Tristan Thompson. Both Thompson and Smith share representation with LeBron James. After practice, LeBron opened up:
"Negotiations are always two-sides but J.R. did his part," James said. "He showed up every day. Worked his ass off every day. Became a two-way player, a model citizen in Cleveland and he's a fan favorite, obviously we all know that. All of the sudden now he's a season ticket holder at the Indians games. We just miss him. We miss having him around. He's a big piece of our team and they just need to get it done."
This is a bit different than simply saying he wants J.R. in the fold and he hopes the sides can find some common ground. For James, he thinks Smith has fulfilled his end of the bargain, and it’s time for the Cavs to meet him. Per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, Smith was offered somewhere between $10-11 million annually for an undisclosed amount of years by the Cavs. It’s possible the 31 year old Smith is looking for four guaranteed years.
A market failed to develop for J.R. Smith over the summer, despite the fact that he was coming off a productive season for a championship winning team. The league also had a historic salary cap increase that left many team’s flush with cash. It seems Smith’s reputation hasn’t quite dissipated. Where it goes from here is hard to guess. But LeBron is frustrated.