Richard Jefferson reached the pinnacle of his 15-year NBA career last week when he captured his first-ever NBA championship.
After playing his part in helping Cleveland secure their inaugural title, Jefferson proclaimed: “I’m retiring. I’m retiring. I’m retiring,” according to Allie Clifton of Fox Sports Ohio.
After reaching the mountain top, why not? At 36-years-old, Jefferson is certainly a well-travelled veteran who has enjoyed a long career in the league. One would think it makes a degree of sense to go out on top, especially if he is feeling the wear and tear of the NBA grind.
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However, it appears as though he let his emotions get the best of him during the Cavaliers' championship parade through Cleveland.
Fans at the parade began chanting “one more year” at the veteran small forward, and he replied: “If you guys want me to play one more year, I’ll play one more year.”
The Los Angeles-born star has just one-year with the Cavaliers to his name, and after averaging 5.5 points during 17.9 minutes during the regular season, it's hard to know if the Cavs faithful are truly attached to the forward or if the emotion of winning their first title ever has gotten to them, too.
Although he is certainly a role player for the Wine and Gold, Jefferson can certainly feel he played his part in Cleveland's historic championship win.
They became the first team in NBA history to come back from 3-1 down in a Finals series to win in seven games and Jefferson did a great job filling in for the injured Kevin Love in game three against the Golden State Warriors, recording nine points and eight rebounds.
With the salary cap reportedly extending to around $94 million this summer, Jefferson is a prime candidate to grab a one-year payday that is likely to comfortably exceed the $1,499,187 he took home this season.
Whether that is a part of his thinking or not is unclear, and truth be told, the rumours about the salary cap were common knowledge long before he originally announced his intention to retire.
It's more likely that the outpour of affection from the public, as well as reported persuasion from LeBron James and his other Cavaliers teammates, has turned Jefferson's head.
The Cavs have the highest salary bill in the whole NBA, but they'll be hoping to retain the vast majority, if not all, of their title-winning roster. Question marks may continue to loom over Kevin Love and any potential trade deal, but the Cavs will be wary of altering a successful unit.
The Cavs' premier snapchatter will be signing photos of Lil Kev for fans at Tommy Bahama at Beachwood Mall to celebrate the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the 2016 NBA Finals today.
Throughout the playoffs, Jefferson has chronicled he and Lil Kev’s shenanigans on his Snapchat, RJeff24. Fittingly, the joke started when Jefferson spotted a Tommy Bahama model who looked just like his power forward teammate, Love.
If just for locker room morale and nothing else, it might be essential for the Cavs that Jefferson follows through on his apparent U-turn.