Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA Free Agency

NBA Free Agency: Cleveland Cavaliers waive JR Smith

Cleveland Cavaliers decide to waive JR Smith after they couldn’t find a trade partner.

On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to waive veteran guard JR Smith. The Cavaliers had been openly looking to trade Smith as early as the first months of the 2018-2019 season, but after failing to find a trading partner, the Cavaliers decided to let him go. The move was expected following early reports from the Athletic and Cleveland.com.

Smith joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2014-2015 season as part of a trade package with the New York Knicks. Smith started in four NBA Finals for the Cavs and played a critical role overcoming their 3-1 deficit to win the 2016 NBA Championship. But he had hardly played in the 2018-2019 season, appearing in only 11 games before Cleveland decided to sit him.

The Cavaliers had an option to hold onto Smith for two more weeks, but a source close to the team said it was unlikely a deal could be arranged during that period. By waiving Smith, Cleveland will be able to stretch his $4.3 million dollars in guaranteed money over the course of three years, meaning he will only count for $1.4 million against Cleveland’s salary cap.

Smith ranks 13th all-time for career throws made. But his shot has declined and his lack of play over the last year makes him a bit of a question mark going into the 2019-2020 season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers are an unlikely destination for Smith once he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Other teams that are rumored to be interested in the shooting guard include the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat.

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Despite the Cavaliers inability to find a trading partner, Smith is expected to find a roster for the 2019-2020 season. Smith can sign with any team he wants, but where he will land is still up for debate.

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