June 20, 2016, 6:49 am
After a resurgent playoff run, 15-year veteran Richard Jefferson announced his retirement on Fox Sports Ohio.
Jefferson capped off a tremendous career with a championship last night as part of Cleveland’s historic victory in a Game 7 for the books. Jefferson, originally thought to be little more than an end-of-career journeyman supplying veteran presence, turned out to be a key cog in Cleveland’s run to the title. His quickness, smarts and defensive skills allowed him to thrive in the playoffs, bringing the Cavs an added dose of versatility that helped them cope with smaller lineups.
Until last night, Jefferson may have been best remembered for his role as a member of the New Jersey Nets teams that got close but could never get over the top. After seven years with the Nets, Jefferson spent two and a half with the Spurs before bouncing around to the Warriors, Jazz, Mavericks and Cavaliers. He ends his career with per game averages of 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 46.4% shooting.
Jefferson was huge in the playoffs, impacting the game as a vital member of Cleveland’s bench units. He was tabbed for a starting role on two occasions, most memorably in Game 3 after Kevin Love was diagnosed with a concussion. Though he only chipped in 5.4 points per game, he often looked like one of Cleveland’s best players. With his his 36th birthday coming on Tuesday, it’s safe to say the Arizona product has already received the only gift he wanted.
Congratulations to RJ on a wonderful career.