JR Smith Rumors: Cavs Seeking Trade for 'Exiled' SG; Will Be Waived If Unable

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2019

J.R. Smith, right, and Mike
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly continue to explore trade options for guard JR Smith with the plan of waiving him if they can not find a taker by Aug. 1.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported the news, though it's unclear if the Cavs have made any progress on a deal. Smith has been "exiled" from the team after being taken out of the rotation in November.

The Cavs and Smith agreed to push back his contract guarantee date to July 15 (with an option to push again to Aug. 1) in June, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst

Smith is owed a $15.7 million base salary for next season, $4.4 million of which is guaranteed. The 33-year-old averaged just 6.7 points and 1.9 assists on 34.2 percent shooting last season, appearing done as a useful rotation player. 

“I’m great, I’m living a good life, so there’s no reason for me to be stressed or be dissatisfied," Smith told reporters earlier this month at the MLB Celebrity All-Star Game. “I get paid to stay in shape and stay ready to play basketball when I’m called, and if I’m not called, I get to still be home with my family.”

Any team that trades for Smith would do so looking for salary relief. The Cavs would in all likelihood look for a first-round pick and/or a young player in return for taking back a bad salary. However, Smith's salary is useful to Cleveland because releasing him can help the team duck under the luxury tax. The Cavs could easily skirt the tax by trading Smith and making another minor move before the end of the regular season.

Smith said he plans to play again when given the opportunity, though he may find a tepid market given his performance last season. It's possible he could wind up needing to take a quick jaunt overseas to prove he still has scoring pop coming off an NBA team's bench.

Smith played in China during the 2011-12 season. 

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