Over the past season, Richard Jefferson may have been more known for his top-ranked Road Trippin’ Podcast that he hosts along with Cleveland Cavs big man Channing Frye and FOX Sports Ohio sideline reporter Allie Clifton, but RJ brought much more to the wine and gold than many may realize. Outside of his personality and obvious podcast, the 37-year-old still seemed to have plenty left in the tank in terms of basketball, drawing players like Kevin Durant as defensive assignments throughout the NBA Playoffs. With that being said, Jefferson announced on the most recent episode of Road Trippin’ that he will return to the Cavaliers for the upcoming season.
Jefferson averaged 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and one assist per game while shooting 45 percent from the floor and just 33 percent from beyond the arc, his lowest mark since the 2012-13 season. He even started in 13 of the 79 regular season games he played in.
The Cavs bench must get younger and a bit faster, but getting a savvy veteran like Jefferson back is always a good thing. Although he probably shouldn’t be playing over 20 minutes a game like this past season, he—along with Frye—brings much more to the team that just whatever he brings on the court.
He may have only averaged 5.8 points in 16.6 minutes in five Finals games against the Warriors, but when in the game, he guarded eventual series MVP in Durant, allowing the rest of the Cavaliers to matchup with the longer and more athletic Warriors. Not only was this impressive given Jefferson’s age, but he took plenty of the pressure of LeBron James, so that he could have a break and not have to guard KD for a the full duration of each contest.
James Jones, conversley, has yet to make up his mind if he will return but may retire. It was said earlier in the season that this last one would be Jones’ last one. In 2016, Jones signed a one-year deal that was thought to be his final one in the league, but with his longstanding friendship with LeBron James coupled with his voice within the team’s locker room, the man they call “Champ” could always change his mind.
Cleveland will not have to re-sign Jefferson. Prior to this past season, he hinted at retirement and then signed a three-year, $7,612,500 deal, paying him $2.5 million during the 2017-18 season. For what it’s worth, he once said that he wanted to play as long as Vince Carter has. With Jefferson being 36 and 40-year-old Carter expected to play this season, assuming he signs on with a team, that most likely won’t happen. Then again, maybe RJ will somehow play at least three to four more years. Anyone who can do this in his late 30s clearly has some left in the tank.