Ever since J.R. Smith made his NBA finals blunder in Game 1, fans have been curious about Smith’s salary and contract status. Smith’s salary was $13,760,000 for the 2017-18 season per Spotrac. Smith is on the second year of a 4 year, $57 million contract he signed in 2016.
Smith received a significant raise in 2016 from his previous 2 year, $10.3 million deal he signed in 2015. Smith exercised his 2016 player option, and signed his current contract. Fans may wonder why a Cavs role player is making so much money, but James publicly challenged Cleveland management to sign Smith when the team entered 2016 training camp without a deal in place.
“Negotiations are always two-sides but J.R. did his part,” James told Cleveland.com in 2016. “He showed up every day. Worked his ass off every day. Became a two-way player, a model citizen in Cleveland and he’s a fan favorite, obviously we all know that. All of the sudden now he’s a season ticket holder at the Indians games. We just miss him. We miss having him around. He’s a big piece of our team and they just need to get it done.”
The Cavs are paying over $13 million for a player who averaged 8.3 points, 1.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds during the regular season. Smith’s playoff numbers are nearly identical. There has been a lot of criticism over the Cavs current roster, but James played a big role in encouraging the team to sign several of the players on the roster. Tristan Thompson is making over $16 million, and is another Cavs player who has under-performed based on his deal.
Smith admitted playing next to James comes with a lot of pressure.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” Smith explained to CBS Sports. “Not for myself or my teammates, but just playing on his team. It’s almost — it’s a blessing and — it’s a gift and a curse. You play on his team, and you’re playing with the best player in the world and you get to witness some great historic things and be a part of it. Then, on the other side, if you don’t help that person win, they’re looking at you too. So it’s a lot of pressure, depending on how you look at it. But I tell him all the time he has the opportunity to play with me as well.”
Smith has been the center of controversy since dribbling the clock out during regulation in Game 1 instead of going for a game-winning shot. It is unclear whether Smith knew the game was tied, as he has given conflicting reports. Most recently, Smith admitted to not being sure of anything that happened.
“After thinking about it a lot … I can’t say I was sure of anything at that point,” Smith told Sports Illustrated.
Source: Heavy Sports