The start of the regular season is less than two weeks away and J.R. Smith is still a free agent. The shooting guard and the Cavs remain at an impasse over salary and according to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier today, “it’s only a matter of time” before the free agent guard starts to engage more seriously with other teams. Despite all that, coach Tyronn Lue remains confident that Smith will be a member of the team this season, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays. “We pretty much know what direction we have to go in if J.R. isn’t here, but I feel confident that J.R. will be here. We’ll just see how it works out,” Lue told the scribe.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- In the wake of Thursday night’s preseason loss to the Raptors, Lue said the Cavaliers are still attempting to determine who will receive point guard minutes behind Kyrie Irving to start the season. “We may have to do it by committee,” Lue said, per Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. “Different nights may call for different players.”
- In the event that the Pistons don’t shed one of their guaranteed contracts when paring down their roster to 15 players, there’s a chance that Stanley Johnson could be called upon to act as playmaker from the shooting guard spot in a pinch, Aaron McMann of MLive.com opines in response to a reader question.
- The Cavs could conceivably look to trade Iman Shumpert in an effort to lower its luxury tax hit for signing Smith, but that scenario is highly unlikely, opines Joe Vardon of The Northeast Ohio Media Group in response to a reader question. Despite having one of his worst statistical seasons a pro last year, Shumpert remains in the team’s plans, Vardon adds. The scribe also notes that Shumpert’s trade value isn’t particularly high right now and the franchise is hoping he’ll demonstrate the production that led to them acquiring him from the Knicks.
- Don’t forget to check out our Offseason in Review posts for the Bucks, Bulls, Pistons and Pacers.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.