October 14, 2016
The Cleveland Cavaliers and starting shooting guard J.R. Smith finally agreed to a four-year contract less than two weeks before opening night, which usually wouldn’t qualify as major news in the Delaware Valley. But thanks to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein, it’s how the champs and the shirtless wonder came to an agreement that will be of interest in Philly.
Stein is reporting that Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo made “a hard push” for Smith:
J.R. Smith and the Cavs have come to terms on a four-year $57 million deal, league sources say— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 15, 2016
ESPN sources say a hard push from Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo for J.R. Smith helped sparked Friday's talks with the Cavs to get a deal done— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 15, 2016
Sources say J.R. Smith's new Cavs deal is fully guaranteed for $45 million over the first three seasons no matter what happens in Year 4— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 15, 2016
It never felt as if Smith was going to leave the Cavs, just as Manu Ginobili likely never was ticketed for anywhere but San Antonio. A 40 percent three-point shooter in 2015-16, Smith could've undoubtedly bolstered the Sixers' perimeter shooting. Still, the 31-year-old doesn’t exactly fit the “veteran leadership” criteria that the Sixers have targeted over the past year.
It may be worth pointing out that Smith is represented by Klutch Sports and Rich Paul, Ben Simmons’ agent. Regardless of the motivation, Colangelo and the Sixers utilized their cap space to put pressure on another team to step up the plate and retain their free agent.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann