Storyline: Richard Jefferson Free Agency

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Last week, Andrew Marchand of the Post reported that several TV outlets were interested in hiring Richard Jefferson as a game analysts, listing YES, ESPN and the Clippers as the top three. Now, league sources tell NetsDaily that unless RJ gets an offer to play another year, he will be joining the YES Network, doing both game analysis and studio work on broadcasts of Nets games, The move to the broadcast booth comes a decade after he was traded to the Bucks for Yi Jianlian. Jefferson, 38, has since played with the Spurs, Warriors, Jazz, Mavericks, Cavaliers and Nuggets, winning an NBA championship with Cleveland two years ago. He joined the Cavs broadcast teams in the playoffs last season, his first broadcasting gig.

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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.”

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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September 21, 2018 | 5:49 pm EDT Update
With less than one week to go before media day on Sept. 24, Thibodeau was summoned to California for a meeting with Butler. He was planning on asking to be traded, but in the days leading up to the meeting several wondered if he would stick to his stance or soften it when Thibodeau charted his vision for the upcoming season. As Thibodeau laid out his plans, Butler told his coach that he wanted to be elsewhere. Thibodeau resisted, saying he couldn’t trade him because he wanted to make another playoff run this year. But Butler held firm.
Storyline: Jimmy Butler Trade?
Thibodeau has rebuffed trade calls to this point, even of the informal “what would it take?” variety that several teams have started to initiate, sources said. His hold on both positions in the organization hasn’t been strong for quite some time and it’s well known throughout the franchise that his relationship with Taylor got off to a bit of a rocky start. By all accounts, Thibodeau has been much more accessible and engaging with Taylor, and many in the organization, this summer. He has been working to establish relationships that he simply ignored in his first two seasons on the job, knowing full well that Year 3 could be considered make or break for the Thibodeau-Layden pairing.
This is Jimmy Butler. Thibs’ hand-picked pride and joy. The one who pledged to have his back through thick and thin and drag this woebegone franchise out of the dank cellar and into the spotlight. Now he wants out. And there remains a real possibility that he will not report to training camp next week if a trade has not been consummated, sources said.