JR Smith Sparks Controversy With Comments on LeBron James

Getty Images LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James just got paid thanks to a lucrative two-year extension with the Los Angeles Lakers and his former teammate JR Smith is not happy with some of the reporting on the deal.

ESPN posted a graphic on Tuesday breaking down the amount of money James will make with his new contract by the month, day, hour, minute and second. It breaks down to nearly $5,000 an hour — an enviable number for most that drew out quite a few critical and comedic comments.

“A candy bar every second. I want that deal,” retired rugby player Todd Clever wrote on the post.

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“If he dropped a dollar, it wouldn’t even be worth his time to pick it up,” another commenter posted.

But Smith’s comment was by far the most reacted to, with more than 5,500 likes and 550 replies within a few hours.

“Feel like he’s the only person we do that with?” Smith wrote. “Why people always want to know how much the next person makes [and] the breakdown? Just saying.”

As many in the comments pointed out, the graphic has been done for many big contracts in sports. But maybe Smith is playing some defense for his guy LeBron, who he has won a pair of titles with — one last year in LA and another in Cleveland.

Smith is no slouch when it comes to making money in the NBA, albeit it pales in comparison to James. Smith has made nearly $90 million in his career and will pick up another $1.45 million next year from the Cavaliers despite not having played a game for them in over two years. Smith is currently a free agent.

Report: LeBron James Wasn’t Interest in Creating Cap Space

Lakers star LeBron James, at left, and DeMar DeRozan: future Lakers teammates?

GettyLakers star LeBron James, at left, and DeMar DeRozan.

The James extension announcement was a bit of a surprise on Wednesday, especially considering it came before the expected Anthony Davis deal. But the extension of LeBron shows that he has some major faith in what the franchise is doing to remain a contender, with himself and Davis as the star centerpieces.

James and Davis both could have opted out of their deals next offseason and taken less money to fit another superstar player in under the cap. ESPN NBA senior writer and LeBron James whisperer Brian Windhorst noted that the Lakers star was not interested in that.

“If James and Davis were willing, they could’ve made sure they were free agents next summer when a number of big names might be on the market,” wrote Windhorst. “The Lakers, who currently only have about $15 million on their books for the 2021-22 season, could have gotten creative to add another major name.

“But James, sources said, was not interested in that.”

Anthony Davis Decision ‘Independent’ of LeBron James

Brian Windhorst reacts to LeBron & Lakers agrees to 2-year, $85 million extensionBrian Windhorst reacts to LeBron & Lakers agrees to 2-year, $85 million extension2020-12-02T23:46:34Z

The Lakers are waiting patiently for Davis to re-sign, although it’s nearly a guarantee he returns to the purple and gold.

Windhorst noted in his column that Davis shares an agent with James in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports but is working independently of James on his new deal, considering his career is at a much different crossroads.

“He is still weighing how to structure his contract as he tries to gauge how the salary cap will grow in the next few years,” Windhorst reported. “Davis has been looking at spreadsheets trying to best guess how to plan the contracts for the rest of his career beyond this deal he’s soon to sign.”

Whatever Davis decides to do, the Lakers are set up to be among the top title contenders for at least the next few seasons, barring any major injuries.

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