JR Smith Rumors: Cavs SF Delays Contract-Option Deadline Amid Trade Hopes

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2019

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 19:  JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers tries to drive around Stanley Johnson #7 of the Detroit Pistons during the first half at Little Caesars Arena on November 19, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

JR Smith has delayed the guarantee date on his contract for the 2019-20 season to provide the Cleveland Cavaliers with more time to find a trade for him, according to The Athletic's Joe Vardon.

Per Spotrac, only $3.87 million of Smith's $15.7 million salary next season was guaranteed. The rest would have become fully guaranteed had he not been waived prior to Sunday.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the date has been delayed to July 15 with an option to delay again until Aug. 1. Windhorst added that the partially guaranteed portion has been increased to $4.4 million under the revisions.

Smith has been in Cleveland since being acquired in a midseason deal in 2014-15. He played a role in helping the Cavs reach four consecutive Finals from 2015 to 2018, winning the franchise's first-ever championship in 2016.

However, when four-time NBA MVP LeBron James left for the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason, Smith no longer found himself in the team's plans. As the organization eyed a new direction with younger players, Smith and other veterans found themselves on the bench, an approach former coach Tyronn Lue was not on board with. Ultimately, Lue lost his job just six games into the 2018-19 campaign.

As the Cavaliers shifted their focus to the future, Smith requested a trade in November 2018.

Smith wound up making just 11 appearances last season and did not play in a game after Nov. 19. He ultimately left the team as he sought a trade.

The 33-year-old made it clear to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic in November that he was not interested in a buyout.

"I just look at it differently than being traded," Smith told Lloyd. "I don't like the statement of getting bought out."

Cleveland was not able to get a deal done prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and as a result, the standoff has lasted into the summer. While the Cavs may ultimately decide to waive the veteran, they now have an additional two weeks at minimum to try to get something in return and allow Smith to receive his full salary.