J.R. Smith can again launch away for the Cavaliers.
After sitting out most of training camp, the free agent shooting guard re-signed Saturday with the defending NBA champions, who now have all their starting pieces in place to begin defending their title.
Smith made a franchise record 204 three-pointers last season and was a major contributor during the Cavaliers’ run to the first championship by a Cleveland team since 1964. His agents were in a stalemate with the Cavaliers for weeks, unable to come to terms on a deal to keep him in Cleveland.
But the sides were able to come to terms Friday on a four-year, $57-million contract, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press on Friday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team’s policy is not to divulge contract terms.
Smith’s deal guarantees him more than $45 million in the first three years of the deal, the $15 million per season he was looking for when negotiations opened this summer. If he stays four seasons, he will get $57 million.
“Bringing J.R. back as part of our core group was a priority for us,” Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said. “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. We know he can’t wait to get back on the court with his brothers and we are certain that everyone in this organization and city feels the same way.”
Smith is expected to practice Sunday and he could play in the preseason finale Tuesday night in Columbus against Washington. The Cavaliers open the regular season on Oct. 25 against New York.
Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi is expected to miss four to six weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
The team said Saturday he had surgery a day earlier for a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee. Mahinmi was hurt in Thursday’s exhibition game against Philadelphia. He signed a $64 million, four-year deal in the off-season. The 29-year-old player averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in eight NBA seasons with San Antonio, Dallas and Indiana. …
Philadelphia 76ers oft-injured center Joel Embiid could potentially play in both ends of back-to-back games this season. Sixers Coach Brett Brown also says Jahlil Okafor should be ready for opening night on Oct. 26 in his recovery from surgery on his right knee. Brown says Nerlens Noel may not be ready for the opener as he recovers from a groin injury. Embiid sat out the last two seasons because a broken right foot and had been on a minutes restriction in the preseason.