Richard Jefferson has officially been traded to help ease the Cavaliers luxury tax number and to get them down to 15 guaranteed contracts for the season. Jefferson played an enormous role in the Finals last year, taking on Kevin Durant (in vain, mostly) for large stretches on defense.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Jefferson nearly didn’t make it to last season’s opener:
The fact that Jefferson made it as long as he did with Cleveland was improbable, anyway. First, he retired after that Game 7 win against the Warriors and had to be persuaded to come back. Then he was nearly traded the summer after the championship because he revealed what the Cavs' rings looked like on his Snapchat account before the team was ready to release them to the public. Then-GM David Griffin was so ticked that he was ready to ship him out of town, sources told ESPN, before eventually calming down and accepting Jefferson's apology.
This was honestly a little surprising. Sure, a championship ring is important, but last year’s Cavs were fairly depleted in terms of wing and big options. They used Jefferson extensively as a backup power forward last season and he was functionally the only guy who could play backup small forward as well.
It probably was a fairly soft threat from David Griffin, but he clearly struck a nerve by ruining the Cavaliers reveal. I think it’s fair to say that Cavs fans were mostly happy that the rings existed in the first place, and that Richard Jefferson was there in 2016 to help them win them at all.