NBA

Richard Jefferson.

Report: Richard Jefferson will not retire and wants to play for a "couple of more years"

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Veteran Richard Jefferson had an unforgettable season with the Cleveland Cavaliers as he won his and the franchise's first ever championship.

it's fair to say we all do or say things in the heat of the moment when we get carried away sometimes and R.J. was certainly guilty of this in the midst of the team's title celebrations.

The small forward announced in the champagne-filled visiting locker room at the Oracle Arena that he would be retiring. 

Who could blame him? He'd just won the Larry O'Brien trophy and was turning 36 two days later, what better way to go out. 

However, it appears the vet has had a change of heart. At the Cavs' championship parade, the Wine and Gold faithful chanted for Jefferson to play for one more year, and he's ready to oblige and even go one better. 

He has now put retirement firmly on the backburner and intents to play for more than one season.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, he said: "I'm not retiring. I'm going to play a couple of more years."

2016 NBA Finals - Game Six

The 15-year man is now a free agent and is able to negotiate with any team in the league. Unfortunately for the Cavaliers, they don't own Jefferson's Bird rights this summer. 

That means that they can't go over the salary cap to sign him, so they can only offer him a contract starting at $3.5 million using the taxpayer mid-level exception. 

On the open market, with the increase in the salary cap, Jefferson might be able to get $10 million or more per season based on his strong playoff showing.

When asked if he would re-sign with the Cavaliers, Jefferson said, "We'll see."

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

He played an important role in the team's comeback win over the Golden State Warriors from 3-1 down - the first team to ever overcome that deficit in the Finals. 

The former Warriors player ended up playing more minutes than he could've imagined due to a combination of injury and poor form from Kevin Love. 

Love suffered a concussion in game two which thrust R.J. into the starting lineup and his presence in a small-ball lineup on the floor allowed the Cavs to match up better with the Dubs and dominate.

Jefferson has become a real fan's favourite with the Ohio faithful both on and off the court - largely due to his now famous Snapchat account.

Cleveland Cavaliers Victory Parade And Rally

To say the Arizona product has enjoyed his stint in Cleveland would be an understatement. Playing with LeBron James has allowed him to finally win a ring and be in the presence of one of the best players of all-time.

In a piece he wrote in The Players' Tribune during the Finals, he paid tribute to LeBron saying "I feel indebted to him". 

But Jefferson is in for one last payday and at his age, it'll be difficult to turn down an offer of at least $10m elsewhere.

It'll be interesting to see if he's willing to sacrifice to keep his love affair with the city of Cleveland going.

Topics:
NBA
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Richard Jefferson

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