Free-agent guard J.R. Smith reached an agreement to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Smith announced Thursday on his Instagram account. The two-year deal is worth approximately $5 million per season with a player option on the second year, people with direct knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.
The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the deal until Smith signs the contract.
“Happy to say that I am returning to the Cavs! It’s been a long ride this summer but I can say for sure, well worth the wait,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “When I opted out of my contract, I wanted to understand the landscape of the NBA and where I fit best. The Cavaliers had things they needed to do in order to piece together a championship caliber roster. I ended up deciding that instead of potentially securing a larger deal elsewhere, I wanted to rejoin an incredible organization in pursuit of the ultimate goal, an NBA championship. Thank you to the Cavaliers for making this happen. Can’t wait to get started! #TheLand”
Smith opted out of a the final year of a deal that would have paid him $6.39 million in 2015-16. The Cavaliers acquired Smith from the Knicks in a January trade last season, and Smith played a critical role in Cleveland’s success after a 19-20 start. Smith averaged 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Cavs during the regular season and 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds during the playoffs.
Keeping Smith gives the Cavs depth, and when healthy, the Cavs have a deep rotation, with the addition of veteran guard Mo Williams.
The Cavs are hoping to finalize one more contract before the start of the season: reaching a long-term deal with forward Tristan Thompson.
The two sides were close to a deal early in free agency but couldn’t agree on the terms. Thompson is a restricted free agent and is likely to play for Cleveland this season either on a one-year qualifying offer contract or a long-term deal.