JR Smith Returning in 2016 Is In Cavaliers Best Interest


It’s funny watching the world collectively turn on a sports player. JR Smith knows how it feels. In fact he’s felt it multiple times. From his troubles in Denver to his elbow to Jason Terry’s face in 2012, all the way to his collapse in this year’s finals.

In fact, during this one season JR Smith went from negatively viewed (Knicks), to positively (Beginning of Cavs stint), to negatively (Jae Crowder knockout), to positively (Hawks’ series explosion) then finished the season negatively (Finals). A lot of fluctuation in the court of public opinion with the biggest coming during the finals.

Smith completely fell apart against the Warriors. The time he was the needed the most, he came up the smallest he ever had with the Cavs. Had he played up to his potential, he and the rest of the team may be 2015 champs. Instead, Smith was the butt of jokes all over and the Cavaliers fell short.

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Fast forward a couple weeks and Smith is opting out of his $6.4 million player option, searching for a long term deal. Everyone thought he would re-up with the Cavs. Now, no one is quite sure what is going to happen with him.

Wherever he signs, many people will view it as a negative move for the team. But…

The Cavaliers need to re-sign him. He is the perfect fit for this team. Everybody seems to forget how great he was in the conference finals, averaging 18 points on 50-47-80 splits. With Kyrie missing most of that series, everything Smith provided, the Cavs needed.

Now to the finals, Smith was extremely underwhelming. Actually, he was awful. He nearly cost them game two with boneheaded fouls and mistakes. He did nothing to help in any game outside of one half in game 5.

Why would the Cavaliers want to put up with his antics especially after that pathetic finals series?

Because they were 33-3 when their team was at full strength. They lost just two games during their run to the finals. Smith, for the large part, played extremely well when he was able to play his role which is a sixth man whose scoring is icing on the cake. In the finals, Smith needed to be a part off the cake and was relied on to be their go to scoring option after LeBron James. In all likelihood, that will not happen again on this team.

With Smith in the fold, the Cavaliers have an explosive scoring backcourt tandem off the bench with Mo Williams. They need that as their bench, in terms of scoring, was lackluster last year even with Smith playing.

If you leave all the scoring and playmaking duties to a soon-to-be 33 year old undersized point guard who shot less than 40% from the field, it will backfire eventually. Especially if an injury comes to Williams. Which in that case, they are left with nobody that can create and score on their own.

From what it looks like, Smith will not be equaling or surpassing the $6.4 million he passed up, which means he should come relatively cheap. Of course even if he signs for $4 million, it would cost owner Dan Gilbert about $12 million because the Cavaliers are well past the luxury tax threshold. But when you are about to dole out the largest luxury tax bill in league history, you might as well pay the additional amount that is needed to keep Smith.

If it helps get that elusive Larry O’Brien trophy it is worth it. And Smith most certainly will help.

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