Report: Sources Reveal Latest Contract Offer to J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith Cavs

Earlier on Friday, LeBron James issued a warning to Cleveland Cavaliers management about the unsigned status of free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith. If one report is correct, that gulf between the two sides may last longer than all interested parties want.

Joe Vardon of wrote that the Cavaliers have offered Smith between $10 and $11 million per season. However, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin has cited multiple sources as saying the deal was a three-year offer that would guarantee Smith more than $42 million as part of an escalating contract, which includes a partially guaranteed fourth year. Both are a far cry from Smith’s reported goal of $15 million per season, but due to salary cap penalties the Cavs would face by paying Smith that amount, they’ve reportedly been reluctant to go above either amount.

With the luxury tax line for the upcoming season set at $114 million, each dollar that Cleveland pays out above that will cost them $4.25 in penalties. Even without signing Smith, the Cavaliers are already above that limit.

While Smith can be streaky, he can also light up the scoreboard, with Cleveland hard-pressed to find any comparable replacement at this point.

Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue obviously wants Smith in camp, but is prepared to go ahead without him.

“We’re saying that he is going to come back,” Lue said. “If he doesn’t come back, we understand it’s a business and we just have to move forward. No excuses. Next man up, next man has to be ready. We have some great pieces around who can also step in and play a role for us on this team.”

With James, the issue has obviously become such an annoying distraction, that he bluntly addressed the media, specifically waiting for teammates to finish their interviews before he spoke.

The Cavs’ first game is set to be played in Quicken Loans Arena on October 25 against Smith’s former team, the New York Knicks. The team is set to receive its championship rings prior to the start of the nationally televised contest.

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