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Smith Reportedly Not Close to Agreeing to Terms with Cavs
Monday, July 18
Smith and the Cavaliers "remain apart" in negotiations, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported Sunday he was "hearing" that Smith is looking for a "huge deal" to return to Cleveland "in the [$15 million-per-year] range."
Smith Comments on Future with Cavaliers
Sunday, July 17
"I've thought about that situation (leaving Cleveland), and I've thought about it the other way, too, going back and winning again," Smith said in a Friday interview with ESPN (h/t Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk). "Both are juggled in the air, and I'm kind of nervous about that choice when it gets presented to me."
Smith Reportedly Expected to Remain with Cavaliers
Friday, July 8
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com reported Smith is expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers.
Smith Important Piece to Retain for Cavs
The 30-year-old will be among the more interesting players to watch over the summer. His stock has risen since his trade to the Cavs. In 123 regular-season games with the team, he averaged 12.5 points a game on 41.9 percent shooting. He also hit 39.6 percent of his three-pointers—his highest figure during his tenure with any one team.
Smith has unquestionably benefited from the roster around him, though. Having Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on the floor allows Smith to sit at the three-point line even more. According to Basketball-Reference.com, his 62.5 percent three-point attempt rate in Cleveland is nearly 15 percentage points above his career average (47.6).
The 2012-13 Sixth Man of the Year is a more consistent shooter with the Cavs, but he continues to be prone to stretches where he's a black hole offensively. He shot 40.3 percent from the field in last year's playoffs, and after looking better for much of the 2016 postseason, he's averaging 9.6 points a game in the NBA Finals.
Smith said he prefers to stay in Cleveland, per Haynes: "This is where I want to be. The fans love me; I love them and my teammates."
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has shown a willingness to spend whatever is necessary to bring Cleveland a championship; the Cavs have the league's highest payroll, per Spotrac.
Cleveland will have a great chance of retaining Smith, but with the salary cap rising, it wouldn't be surprising if another team overestimates his value based on the last year-and-a-half and offers him a deal far greater than what he's worth.
Even Gilbert has financial limits. In the event the Cavs get in a bidding war, Smith could be suiting up for a new team next season.