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It doesn’t seem like a J.R. Smith trade is on the way, so the Cavaliers intend to do the next logical thing and waive the banished shooting guard.
According to multiple reports, the Cavs will waive Smith Monday, barring an unforeseen taker of his contract.
Smith is apparently willing to push back the guarantee date on his contract to Aug. 1, but the Cavs apparently have lost hope.
Assuming they waive Smith on Monday, they will do so via the “stretch” provision — meaning they will disperse the $4.3 million he’s owed over several seasons. That plan will keep them from having to pay luxury tax.
The Cavs did try to move Smith several times since sending him home in November, holding conversations with the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat, among others.
“We’re definitely going to investigate what we can do there,” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said about Smith in June. “There’s a pain threshold of doing it, going into the tax, which we would have to do in terms of taking back money and the rest of the NBA knowing that we’re in the tax and my job would be getting us out of the tax.
“Is there enough value there to do that, to put ourselves out there like that? I think that’s something we are weighing. There’s opportunity to do it. It’s just how deep do we want to go into the tax to bring back an asset? Also, what does it take us out of into the year? We’re still looking to add assets throughout the year, so using JR now might take us out of that.”
The Cavs had several offers and were willing to take back “bad” contracts, provided the opposing team also included a first-round pick. Those offers were there, but none to the Cavs’ liking. It seems as if the teams willing to give up the picks wanted to place protections on those picks, and the Cavs weren’t going to trade Smith just to trade him.
Earlier this month, the Cavs attempted to trade Smith’s contract to the Golden State Warriors for veteran wing Andre Iguodala, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. But the Warriors decided against it, instead sending Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.
There has been talk that the Los Angeles Lakers would be a team with an interest in Smith, though that may be coming from his agency, Klutch Sports, and not the Lakers themselves. Klutch Sports is headed by Rich Paul, the agent for Smith, as well as Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Smith, who turns 34 before the season, was a member of the Cavs’ run of four straight trips to the Finals, but fell out of favor with the front office and coaching staff last season. He was sent home in November after appearing in 11 games and averaging 6.7 points on 34 percent shooting.
The Cavs will remain about $22 million over the salary cap for 2019-20 even after Smith is waived.