16 years of NBA basketball isn’t enough for veteran forward Richard Jefferson. He’s totally coming back to be a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18.
Why retire when you can make money, podcast on the side and compete for NBA Championships in the process? That is the logic behind the veteran NBA forward that is Richard Jefferson. After coming up three games short in the 2017 NBA Finals, Jefferson let it be known that he’s not calling it a career and intends to play the 2017-18 NBA season for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jefferson told the world about his basketball intentions on his podcast “Road Trippin’” on Wednesday. Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon-Journal transcribed Jefferson from his latest podcast as saying, “I will be starting my 17th season next, I am not retiring.”
Jefferson initially contemplated retirement after being part of the 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers. That was his first professional championship and he could have retired on top at age 35. Jefferson would then sign a three-year deal in the 2016 offseason. He will be 37 years old in 2017-18.
Even in his late 30s, Jefferson is still a highly productive role player for the Cavaliers with a high basketball IQ. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 points per game in a role coming off the Cavaliers bench. Jefferson stands to make $2.5 million next year. He is under contract through 2018-19 for $2.6 million, but that isn’t fully guaranteed.
Does Jefferson need the money? Not really, as he has made over $112 million in his 16-year NBA career with seven teams. Moreover, why would he want to walk away from a good short-term situation in Cleveland? He gets to play on the same Eastern Conference juggernaut as LeBron James. As long as James is in Cleveland, Jefferson should squeeze every last bit of basketball juice he has let in himself to try to win a second title.