In 2016, Cleveland Cavaliers veteran small forward Richard Jefferson chose to go out on top, deciding to retire after Cleveland’s incredible Game 7 NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors.
But then, for whatever reason, he decided to change his mind, signing a two-year, $5.1 million deal to remain with the Cavs.
Now, on the heels of a Finals loss to the Warriors, the 37-year-old finds himself in a confusing situation and despite the fact that he still has one more year left on his contract, he has no idea what he’s going to do.
On his “Road Trippin” podcast, he provided an insight into his current mindset:
"I don't know what I'm about to do next season," Jefferson said. "The only way I would come back would be if these m-----f-----s figure this s--- out. Honestly, at the end of the day, coming back alone was not only worth the experience but also worth 'Road Trippin',' man. This s--- was cool, man, because we gave fans something that they had never f---ing seen.”
In between the cursing, Jefferson made some interesting points in his comments.
First, it seems like he really enjoyed podcasting through the entirety of the season, giving fans a unique insight into the life of an NBA player. As a player who keeps it real and doesn't hold back, it was an interesting form of content, and after his on-court career is over, it will probably open some doors for Jefferson.
Secondly, it seems like he may have called the Cavaliers out, saying that the only way he would come back would be if they figure things out, whatever that means to him.
Since Cleveland doesn’t have cap space and therefore won’t be able to make a major splash in free agency, the team might have to deal a big-name player like Kevin Love or move the expensive contract of Tristan Thompson in order to make a huge change in an attempt to match up better with the Warriors.
Jefferson averaged just 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds during the regular season, but was a key rotational player, logging 20.4 minutes per game for the Cavs. In the Finals, he played 16.6 minutes per game, putting up 5.8 points and 2.4 boards per contest.
Therefore, while he didn’t fill up the stat sheet, he was still someone that Tyronn Lue trusted to be on the court in important situations. At the advanced stage in his career, Jefferson’s basketball IQ might be more of an asset than his actual physical abilities on the court.
Jefferson might be at the end of his career, but are his concerns frustrating enough for him to turn down $2.5 million in guaranteed money that he's owed next season? That is the question.