J.R. Smith Would Welcome Trade From Cavs

J.R. Smith, removed from the Cavaliers‘ rotation for the time being, said today that he’d like to be traded, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic and Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter links).

After starting 61 of the 80 games he appeared in last season and averaging 28.1 minutes per contest for the Cavaliers, Smith has logged just 12.0 MPG in four games this season. The 33-year-old also already has multiple DNPs, including one on Tuesday in the team’s first game under new head coach Larry Drew.

A report this week indicated that Smith is no longer a part of the rotation in Cleveland, with the team focusing on developing some of its younger players. That report also indicated that the veteran guard was “upset” by the news and considered taking some time away from the club. Smith later denied that report, tweeting that the Cavs gave him the option of taking time away and he elected not to.

Still, it appears that Smith would welcome a move to another team, which doesn’t come as a surprise. After four straight trips to the NBA Finals alongside LeBron James, the 15-year veteran finds himself playing a limited role on a 1-6 team likely headed for the lottery.

Smith’s $14.72MM cap hit for 2018/19 won’t make him easy to move, but the structure of his deal could help boost his value. Although he’s under contract for one more season beyond 2018/19, his $15.68MM salary for 2019/20 is only partially guaranteed for $3.87MM. Because that contract was signed under the NBA’s previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, it could become an interesting trade chip next July, as we explained last week.

The Cavaliers are unlikely to embark on a full-fledged fire sale this early in the season, but we heard this week that they’re gauging the trade market for Kyle Korver, so it would make sense to take similar steps with Smith.

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