Earlier on Thursday, J.R. Smith announced that he’s staying with the Cavaliers. He opted out of the final year and $6.5 million on his contract hoping to get a bigger deal, but after finding no takers, he signed what Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting is a two-year deal with a player option and a no-trade clause, which will pay him $5 million next season.
The reported deal is a loss of $1.5 million on what Smith would have made next season if he’d opted in, but now he has more control over his own future. If he has a good year, he can opt out and take another stab at free agency next summer when the cap goes up.
As for the no-trade clause, it’s triggered by this clause in the CBA (via Larry Coon’s indispensible CBA FAQ):
There are two additional circumstances in which a trade requires the player’s consent:
When the player is playing under a one-year contract (excluding any option year) and will have Larry Bird or Early Bird rights at the end of the season. This includes first round draft picks following their fourth (option) season, who accept their team’s qualifying offer for their fifth season. When the player consents to such a trade, his Larry Bird/Early Bird rights are not traded with him, and instead becomes a Non-Bird free agent.
Since the second year on Smith’s new deal is a player option, it’s essentially treated as a one-year deal. If he does consent to a trade away from the Cavs in his first year, his new team won’t have his Bird rights, which means they won’t be able to go over the cap to re-sign him.
Given the lack of options Smith had, this seems like a good deal for both sides. The Cavs get him for less than he would have made under his old contract, and he gets more security and control of his future.