The Cleveland Cavaliers have been continuously shopping veteran guard JR Smith, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, and one of the trades they explored earlier in the summer was sending him to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Andre Iguodala.
Per that report, "The Cavs offered lighter protections to the Golden State Warriors in a potential Andre Iguodala swap. Instead, Golden State made its trade with Memphis, giving up Iguodala, cash and a protected future first-round pick."
That wasn't the only potential trade for Smith this offseason that fell through.
Per Vardon: "There were a handful of other deals that involved teams dumping salaries into open cap space, including the Los Angeles Clippers getting a 2023 first-rounder from the Miami Heat for taking Maurice Harkless to facilitate the Jimmy Butler trade. The Cavs were involved in these same discussions."
The issue, as Vardon reported, was that Smith has a partial $4.3 million guarantee on his $15.6 million deal.
That contract becomes guaranteed on July 15, and in the case of the Warriors' potential deal for Iguodala, "Taking on that extra Smith salary, even though it's a small guarantee in comparison to Iguodala's salary number, might have prevented the hard-capped Warriors from making other small moves to round out their roster."
By trading Iguodala into Memphis' open cap space, however, the Warriors created both a trade exception and maneuverability around the margins after acquiring D'Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, which hard-capped them for the season.
The 33-year-old Smith, who had a falling out with the Cavs last season and played in just 11 games, has been "exiled" by the franchise. It's likely that he'll be cut by the team if he isn't traded before his July 15 salary guarantees and could be a solid and cheap addition for teams seeking veteran depth in the backcourt.
Smith is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three, and though his best days are behind him, he would be a capable scorer off the bench in limited minutes. He'll be playing his basketball elsewhere next season, with the only question being whether he's moved via a trade or simply released.