Storyline: Richard Jefferson Free Agency

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If this is the end, Jefferson made the most of his talent. He was a solid, productive small forward and made major contributions to the Cavaliers’ title team, averaging 18 minutes per game during the playoffs as a 35-year-old. He’s had a standout career in a league that tends to discard aging players, regardless of production. “It could be a combination of a lot of things, how your body feels, if people are still calling and asking,” he said. “If the right team or the right situation doesn’t want me, then I have kids and I don’t want to uproot my family to go play in a city I don’t want to be in just to continue this dream. At some point you have to say goodbye.”

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Jefferson understood the business side involved in his exit from Cleveland. Because of his contract, Channing Frye remained even though Jefferson might have been of more use because of his versatility. “I don’t get sentimental,” Jefferson said. “You might want to be in a situation, but this is professional sports. You had great times, great relationships, but more than anything you just enjoy the moment. But even when you’re in the moment you just realize that it doesn’t last forever. You can’t allow feelings and emotions to get involved. There’s not longevity in that.”

Free agency is just one part of the equation for the cap-strapped Cavaliers. There’s also the question about whether Richard Jefferson, who has teased fans about holding off retirement, will play one more year. Then, of course, Kevin Love’s future remains a constant talking point despite Tyronn Lue expressing his desire for the starting power forward to return. “I think our best basketball is in front of us because we finally organically grew to the point that we were ready to achieve something together,” Griffin said. “I expect you’re going to see better play from Kyrie Irving who I think took a huge jump as both an individual talent and a winner throughout these playoffs. I think Kevin’s fit with us is much more clearly defined. We intend to keep this group together and see what we’re capable of.”

Jefferson, who told Fox Sports Ohio’s Allie Clifton that he was retiring following the Cavaliers’ Game 7 victory celebration at Oracle Arena on Sunday night, was asked about his decision on Wednesday during the team’s championship rally in downtown Cleveland by Cavaliers play-by-play announcer, Fred McLeod. “You guys think I should play one more year?” he asked. The crowd cheered in response. “If you guys want me to play one more year, I’ll play one more year,” he said.
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February 17, 2018 | 10:10 pm EST Update