Cavs Notes: Smith, Coaching Search, Expiring Deals, Draft

Cavaliers GM Koby Altman told reporters Friday that he has already been contacted by a team interested in trading for J.R. Smith, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The interest isn’t so much in Smith as a player – he parted ways with the team in November and only appeared in 11 games this season – but in his contract, which is valued at $14.72MM but carries only a $3.87MM guarantee.

[RELATED: Why J.R. Smith May (Or May Not) Be A Valuable Offseason Trade Chip]

A team looking to unload salary could deal for Smith and be on the hook for just $1.29MM annually if he is waived and stretched over three seasons. The Cavaliers showed a willingness this year to take on unwanted contracts in exchange for draft picks, trading for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, Matthew Dellavedova and Nik Stauskas.

“We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief from teams or salary relief until July 1,” Altman said. “We can guarantee that right now and we actually had a phone call yesterday on that (Smith) trade chip, so, we’re going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point.”

There’s more from Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • Altman promised an “open-minded” approach to the team’s coaching search and brought up the possibility of making history by hiring a woman for the job. Though he couldn’t mention her by name because she’s under contract, Spurs assistant Becky Hammon is an obvious candidate if Altman wants a female coach. Hammon interviewed for the Bucks’ head-coaching job last year, ran the Spurs’ summer league team and has a player development background, which Vardon states is important to the Cavaliers.
  • Other coaching possibilities that Cavs players mentioned to Vardon include the Nets’ Bret Brielmaier, the Mavericks’ Jamahl Mosley and the Trail Blazers’ Nate Tibbetts. All three have previous experience in Cleveland. Altman said interviews will begin soon with candidates whose teams aren’t in the playoffs.
  • The Cavaliers believe their expiring contracts for next season might generate some interest on the trade market this summer. Knight and Dellavedova will both be free agents in 2020, along with John Henson, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson.
  • Cleveland won a tiebreaker with the Suns for second place in the draft order heading into next month’s lottery. If they Cavs do wind up with the No. 2 pick, Vardon notes, their view of what type of player Collin Sexton will develop into may determine whether they opt for a point guard in Ja Morant or a wing player in R.J. Barrett.
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10 thoughts on “Cavs Notes: Smith, Coaching Search, Expiring Deals, Draft

  1. Luckylefty2

    Can somebody please explain to me why they gave Larry nance 10 mil a year ?

    • Michael Chaney

      I think I’m one of the few that actually doesn’t mind the contract, so I’ll take a swing at it. He’s a young energy guy with athleticism for days, is capable of a double double on any night and could do it with a few more minutes a game, and can pass the ball. He’s also great at forcing turnovers for a big man, and he’s starting to develop a little bit of an outside shot too.

      • Luckylefty2

        I see your point, but why did he get paid more than jerami grant, Julius randle, montrez harrell? Those guys are younger more skilled & 2 out of the 3 I just mentioned are impact players on playoff teams.

        • x%sure

          OKC, way into the tax, is lucky to have re-signed Grant. He could have gotten more elsewhere I’m sure, except I think FA money dried up around the NBA. Only Sacto had capspace left by late summer.
          Same for Harrell, who was RFA also. He signed a 2/$12 to become UFA asap. Last year he had no offense, and Randle has never, will never be good on defense.
          I would only take Harrell over Nance. Harrell will be a big deal next summer.

    • H3ads40T73

      Created an account just to leave this comment. Larry nance plays his heart out every night. He is THE guy if you want to know who hustles the most every night. On a rebuilding team, he is a leader and a great example of what a professional basketball player should look and act like. Double double threat every night. Will play any role you put him in. Unselfish on the court. Plays tough defense. Worth even more than $10 Million in my opinion.

    • joemoes

      Nance is from Cleveland or Akron. So it’s a hometown kid who plays his heart out. His dads jersey is retired by the team. 10 million is a small number. And he still could be better he’s been injured and only playing 24 minutes a night. He is worth 8-10 million easily

  2. x%sure

    The Cavs have liked ex-Spurs in the past so Hammon is possible. I would call it an interesting choice but women typically think that word is a disguised insult! So I’ll call it an ‘awesome’ choice with air-quotes.
    Both her & Jordi Fernandez will be off-limits for a while still.

    As for Nance, look at the stats. He’s an energy guy, rising, and next year at his rate will likely be more aggressive with the 3 pointer or at least more at ease on the 3pt line. Well worth it. Cavs have paid more for less at the 4/5!

  3. D$!LLKU$H-og

    The Cavs are looking at like 60MM in cap space summer of 2020. I think they get the top pick in June too and have a lineup next year of:

    PG- Sexton
    SG- Osman
    SF- Nwora/Okpala/etc. w 26th pick
    PF- Zion
    C – Nance Jr.

    I’d imagine a FA or 2 would want to join that young core in 2020.

    • Michael Chaney

      As a Cavs fan, I’m really excited for the future but I’m also skeptical that big name free agents would want to come there (pretty much the only reason anyone ever wanted to in the first place was LeBron). I’m also tempering my expectations and assuming they’ll end up with Morant or Barrett/Culver instead of Zion, although any of the four would be a big help.

      If the Cavs get Morant I’d imagine Sexton will play more off the ball which is where his strength is anyway, and he kind of started to make that transition a little towards the end of the season anyway. Cedi is probably better served at the 3 too.

      But a lineup of Morant (for the sake of this comment), Sexton, Cedi, Love, and Thompson/Nance with Nwaba, Clarkson, Zizic, and someone like Okpala at 26 off the bench would be an interesting start, even though it wouldn’t be pretty defensively.

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