Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith has not played professional basketball in 2019. The veteran shooter last suited up on Nov. 19, scoring two points in six minutes in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. Since then, both the Cavaliers and Smith have come together to mutually agree that he should simply just stay home.
Smith signed a wild 4-year, $57 million deal in the summer of 2016 with the Cavaliers. He made $14.7 million this season in Cleveland, and is slated to make $15.7 million next year.
For that reason, Smith is both a buyout candidate and a trade asset. Smith’s deal for 2019-20 is only guaranteed up to $3.87 million until June 30.
What means a team could decide to trade for Smith to empty salary in the direction of Cleveland. They could then either keep Smith, or cut him and pay just his guaranteed amount.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Miami Heat could be looking to add Smith as a means to dump some of their remaining salary.
Via The Athletic:
A team that has expressed an interest in a salary-designed trade of J.R. Smith: the Miami Heat, sources said. The Heat also have contracts they could look to move in the offseason in a deal such as this, and would have to absorb Smith’s deal.
There’s no shortage of candidates on the Miami roster could be included in a trade. Some potential options whose future with the team isn’t clear are Ryan Anderson, Kelly Olynyk, and Dion Waiters. And of course, Hassan Whiteside’s name always seems to get floated in these things.
Pat Riley is usually working levers and pushing buttons so he can land big, splashy free agents, but the team is ostensibly capped out this summer when lots of big names will be on the market. Signing, then cutting Smith could be a way to at least open up some room, both now and in the future.