Still looking to add a shooting guard to their backcourt, the Boston Celtics could soon make an offer to unrestricted free agent J.R. Smith, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes.
Smith, 30, is coming off an NBA championship-winning campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 77 regular season games, Smith averaged 12.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game. Known for his streaky shooting ability, Smith maintained his normally solid three-point shooting by maintaining a .400 percent mark from beyond the arc.
Along with LeBron James, Smith is currently an unrestricted free agent. All signs pointed to Smith eventually re-signing with Cleveland after opting out of his final year with the club in June. In mid-July, Cavaliers' general manager David Griffin expressed to ESPN 2 his optimism that a Smith deal will happen.
“The good news is J.R. wants to be here and we want J.R. back,” Griffin said. “When the time is right, something will get done. I’m very confident about that.”
However, recent reports suggest the two sides are still far apart in contract talks. Per Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Smith is seeking a “huge deal” from the Cavaliers in the $15 million per year range. With limited payroll flexibility, Cleveland may not be able to give Smith that type of deal while also re-signing James.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com argued that Boston should make a competitive offer for Smith. To make that deal happen, Forsberg mentioned that Boston could renounce their rights to Tyler Zeller, giving them room to honor Smith’s contractual demands.
While Boston could meet Smith’s annual salary demands on a one-year pact, Cleveland, coming off a championship-winning season, could be Smith’s best bet for a long-term deal.