Thus far, the Cleveland Cavaliers' offseason has drawn more attention for the names that the team didn't land (Paul George and Chauncey Billups) than for the names that they did (Jose Calderon and Kyle Korver). However, Cleveland received some clarity from a key bench player this week.
Richard Jefferson, 37, announced he will return to the Cavs to play next season on an episode of his "Road Trippin'" podcast that was published Wednesday.
"I will be starting my 17th season next year; I am not retiring," Jefferson said on the podcast hosted on LeBron James' "Uninterrupted" multimedia platform.
Jefferson will be paid a relatively economical $2.5 million. Had Jefferson retired, which he has openly flirted with in the aftermath of each of the past two seasons, the Cavs would only be able to fill his roster spot with all or part of the taxpayer's midlevel exception ($5.2 million) or with a veteran's minimum contract.
Jefferson appeared in 79 games for Cleveland during the regular season, averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists on 44.6 percent shooting while serving as James' primary backup.
He was the Cavs' strongest bench performer in the NBA Finals, averaging 5.8 points on 44.4 percent shooting against the Golden State Warriors. He was also tasked with guarding Kevin Durant. He defended Durant, the series MVP, on 55 percent of the Warriors' halfcourt possessions in Game 4, which turned out to be the Cavaliers' only win in a 4-1 series loss.
With general manager David Griffin no longer with the team, Cleveland's front office continues to be guided by assistant general manager Koby Altman and Mike Gansey, who was named the G League executive of the year this season for running the Canton Charge, the Cavs' G League affiliate.
Altman, Gansey and team owner Dan Gilbert have all been active in player negotiations this offseason, multiple sources told ESPN.
Jefferson's inclusion gives Cleveland 12 players under contract for next season.