NBA Trade Rumors: Cavs Only Open To Dealing JR Smith In The Summer
J.R. Smith continues to stay in cold storage with some NBA teams waiting for a potential buyout by the Cleveland Cavaliers on the disgruntled guard. But it seems that getting the temperamental swingman will only happen via trade and after the 2018-19 NBA season.
Smith has not seen action since November 2018, the time when he lashed out at the Cavs for not wanting to win, the Athletic said. Since the departure of LeBron James last summer, the Cavaliers are now in rebuilding mode, albeit tanking.
Ironically, Smith made it clear that he did not want a buyout at the time. He wants to leave a legacy in Cleveland and being bought out is not the way he wanted to go.
"I don't want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland," Smith added. "I don't think that's fair to the people I see every single day walking around the arena. I don't think that's fair to the trainers or equipment guys. ... I just look at it differently than being traded. I don't like the statement of getting bought out."
Hence, the only logical way for J.R. Smith to continue his career is if Cleveland trades him. With the NBA trade deadline already done and over with, the next sensible wait for the Cavs in the summer, the Athletic said. It remains to be seen if teams would still be interested in Smith who would be left idle for about 9 months.
Interest in Smith at the moment is because of the coming NBA postseason wars. One of the most sought-after positions is the wing position, something that the 33-year-old cager is capable of filling up. By the summer, the scenario will be entirely different especially with a throng of free agents and rookies entering the scene.
For the Cavs, there is the money angle on Smith’s case. For the 2019-20 NBA season, he is due to a salary of $15.8 million. But if he is traded or waived by June 30, Cleveland would only be obliged to pay him $3.9 million.
The difference is enormous and translates to big savings for the Cavs. The only thing certain right now is that Smith is on his way out. With an immediate buyout out of the picture, Smith will have to wait and see where he will continue playing hoops. His conditioning will be a concern, meaning the controversial player will have to make sure that he is still in tip-top shape before the 2019-20 NBA season.