The core of the team that won last year’s National Basketball Association (NBA) title is intact and ready to defend just days before the start of the new season. After a series of disappointments and incongruities, the Cleveland Cavaliers and veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith have finally come to an agreement, with the latter receiving a fresh, four-year deal to remain with the team.
The announcement of Smith’s new contract was made by general manager David Griffin. “Bringing J.R. back as part of our core group was a priority for us,” Griffin said, as reported by NBA.com. “He’s a special part of this family and we are very pleased to have reached an agreement that we all can feel good about.”
Although the 31-year-old American has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his basketball career, he seemingly found the ideal team when he joined LeBron James and the Cavaliers last year. He played in 77 games in the regular season, coming up with an improved scoring average of 12.4 points along with 2.8 rebounds per game. The knockdown shooter became a critical piece of Cleveland’s championship run because of his three-point shooting ability. Per NBA.com stats, he shot .400 from beyond the arc, making him the 18th best in the entire league last year.
Before joining the Cavs, Smith had stints with several teams in the NBA, including New Orleans, Denver, and New York. He also had a brief stint with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the Chinese Basketball Association during the time when the NBA was embroiled in a lockout in 2011.
When news broke out that Smith and the team’s front office couldn’t agree on the terms of his new contract, two of his teammates who happen to be the Cavs’ stars, James and Kevin Love, pitched for Smith to be given the raise he wants. After several weeks of negotiations, Smith eventually got what he wanted.