By Tom Withers
AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND — Richard Jefferson’s planned retirement didn’t last long.
The valuable veteran forward, who played a critical role in Cleveland winning an NBA championship this season, re-signed with the Cavaliers on Thursday.
Shortly after the Cavs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to stun the Golden State Warriors in the finals, Jefferson said he would be ending his long playing career on top. However, at the urging of thousands of Cleveland fans who chanted “One more year” during the team’s victory rally, Jefferson had a change of heart.
He announced his return earlier this month on his Snapchat account, saying, “Can’t wait to repeat … 2 year deal done!! The Land you ready?”
The Cavs made the signing official on Thursday and expressed their excitement to have the 36-year-old back.
“RJ’s versatility on the court and leadership off it were core parts of our identity and success last year,” general manager David Griffin said. “In many respects, his impact was greater as the stakes got higher. His NBA Finals performance is a testament to his dedicated, steady approach and his presence in our locker room throughout the year and postseason cannot be overstated.”
Jefferson made two starts in the postseason and his overall contributions helped the Cavs end the city’s 52-year championship drought. He averaged 5.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 18.1 minutes during the postseason.
Over 15 NBA seasons, Jefferson has averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists for New Jersey, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Golden State, Utah, Dallas and Cleveland.