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The Cleveland Cavaliers and J.R. Smith have agreed to part ways, but that’s in philosophy only. Right now, Smith is still taking up a roster spot and his $14.7 million salary is still counting toward the cap.
The Cavs would prefer to trade Smith, but there has been zero interest. At least for the time being. That could change, according to former NBA assistant general manager and now ESPN insider Bobby Marks. But it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Or so it seems.
“I think he’s got more value after the season, if you are team looking to move money to clear cap space, because he has a partial (guarantee for 2019-20),” Marks said on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast. “He’s making $15 million right now. There’s not that many $15 million guys that, if you’re Cleveland, do you want to take on money next year?
“Maybe you go that route, where you’re in a rebuild and you can get something back (for the player you received in a trade for Smith, such as a draft pick).”
The Cavs have had interest in Mavericks veteran wing Wesley Matthews for the past year, Wojnarowski said. But a trade of Smith for Matthews, straight-up, does not work under the salary cap.
Smith and the Cavs agreed to part ways Nov. 20. He reportedly will not accept a buyout and it’s uncertain if the Cavs will even offer him one.
Smith, 33, has averaged a career-low 6.7 points and 1.9 assists in 11 appearances this season. He came to the Cavs in a trade with the New York Knicks in January 2014.