J.R. Smith reportedly considered leaving the Cavaliers after they – again – pulled him from the rotation (which Smith basically confirmed despite calling it “false,” though he added the important detail that Cleveland gave him him the option to leave).
Jordan Heck of Sporting News:
The Cavs surely want to trade him, too. The problem: Nobody wants the 33-year-old Smith, who’s guaranteed $18.59 million on a contract that will surely end after this season.
These are the aftereffects of four years of title contention. The Cavs had little choice but to pay Smith. He was a helpful – though aging – player, and capped-out Cleveland had no mechanism to sign a comparable replacement. Now, LeBron James is gone, and the Cavaliers are left with the rest of what has become Smiths’ toxic contract. That’s just how it goes.
Cleveland shouldn’t surrender the sweeteners necessary to dump Smith via trade. The best hope probably is hanging onto him in hopes his contract proves useful in facilitating a larger trade.
Maybe Smith and the Cavaliers will agree to a buyout. However, there aren’t many, if any, teams that would play Smith at this point. Would a better team want Smith on its bench? How much money would he relinquish to get there?
Unless he’s willing to leave money on the table, he’s probably stuck in Cleveland for a while.