Cavaliers Rumors: JR Smith to Be Waived by CLE Barring 'Last-Minute Trade'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2019

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

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly set to waive JR Smith on Monday rather than push back his guarantee date to Aug. 1.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic reported the move will happen "barring a last-minute trade." The Cavs pushed Smith's guarantee date back to July 15 last month in hopes of finding a team willing to offer draft compensation or a young player for salary relief.

Only $4.4 million of Smith's $15.7 million salary is guaranteed for next season. That number would have increased to $5.1 million if the Cavs chose to keep Smith on the roster through Monday in hopes of facilitating a trade.

While the Cavs preferred finding a trade, this result is far from a failure. Waiving Smith will save Cleveland $11.3 million, which makes getting under the luxury tax pretty easy. The Cavs will only have to shave off  $400,000 from their roster by the end of next season to avoid another tax bill and reset their repeater clock.

As for Smith, he'll hit unrestricted free agency with an uncertain future. He averaged 6.7 points and 1.9 assists on 34.2 percent shooting last season, by far the worst numbers of his career.

For the most part, Smith looked like a player who shouldn't be part of an NBA rotation and was perhaps haunted by his gaffe in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

"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."

Smith said he plans to play again next season, though that will be dependent on finding a team. There are a number of contenders with roster spots available, but those in many cases are being earmarked for when proven contributors reach buyouts during the season. 

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