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October 14, 2016

Report: Sixers made ‘hard push’ for free agent guard J.R. Smith

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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:

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