Richard Jefferson Re-Signs with Cavaliers: Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent III

FILE - In this April 24, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson spins the ball before the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Detroit Pistons, in Auburn Hills, Mich. With two series sweeps and a tougher-than-expected matchup with Toronto, the united Cavs have gone 12-2 in this postseason and are awaiting the Oklahoma City-Golden State winner in this year’s finals. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Associated Press

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson confirmed on July 6 that he'll return to the team on a two-year contract.

Jefferson broke the news on Snapchat (via ESPN's Rachel Nichols):

Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy also reported Jefferson's agreement with the reigning NBA champions.

The deal is for two years and $5 million, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical.

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin offered his thoughts on Jefferson's impact on Cleveland on Thursday, per the team:

"RJ’s versatility on the court and leadership off it were core parts of our identity and success last year."

“In many respects, his impact was greater as the stakes got higher. His NBA Finals performance is a testament to his dedicated, steady approach and his presence in our locker room throughout the year and postseason cannot be overstated. We’re very thankful he decided to continue his career and we know that his teammates appreciate what he brings to this team at a very deep level.”

Jefferson, 36, played a critical role in the Cavs' run to their first championship. He averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 18.1 minutes per contest during the postseason, shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from beyond the arc.

As reported by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland traded for swingman Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday. The Cavs used part of Anderson Varejao's $9.6 million trade exception to take on Dunleavy's $4.8 million contract, per The Vertical's Bobby Marks.

The Associated Press' Tom Withers drew comparisons between Dunleavy and Jefferson:

With J.R. Smith still looming as a free agent, Jefferson and Dunleavy provide Cleveland with a lot of collective experience and depth on the wing.

But minutes are likely going to be difficult to configure for Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue. Although Jefferson is a superior defender, Dunleavy is the better offensive player and a more proficient three-point shooter, which fits better in Cleveland's offense.

Jefferson could have easily ridden off into the sunset after helping the Cavs hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy in June. As his message on Snapchat indicated, though, he's keen to accumulate more hardware before he calls it a career.

Since Dunleavy is 35, the two veterans could well help keep each other fresh by sharing minutes.

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