Cavs waive veteran J.R. Smith on Monday

Cleveland was unable to work out trade for Smith, will pay him $4.4 million

July 15, 2019 - 10:52 am

Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) - The Cavaliers waived veteran guard J.R. Smith on Monday. They will pay him $4.4 million in guaranteed salary and he will become a free agent once he clears waivers.

The team was unable to find a trade partner for the 33-year old veteran. Smith played in just 11 games in 2018-19 before he agreed to part ways with the Cavaliers and sat out the rest of the season.

Cavs general manager Koby Altman had to be careful with a potential Smith trade. There were plenty of teams willing to send a bad contract and a pick for the veteran guard, but it would put the Cavaliers in an unfavorable spot. They're already $22 million over the salary cap for the 2019-2020 season. The last thing they want to do is spend more money during the rebuild for an asset that isn't worth it. 

Smith went to four straight NBA Finals as a member of the Cavs, including the 2015-16 team that won an NBA Championship. He made plenty of big shots in Game 7 against the Warriors and helped Cleveland become the first team in NBA Finals history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers will not be Smith's next team, where a reunion with former Cavs' teammate LeBron James was thought to be a landing spot. One thing is certain, the veteran doesn't plan on retiring. 

“I don’t think that’s a possibility at this point,” Smith said earlier this month. “I know I will [play again]. Maybe years down the line I won’t. As of right now that’s the furthest thing [from my mind].”

Smith told 92.3 The Fan he's in shape and ready to help a team this season. It'll be interesting to see who he signs with, especially if the Lakers aren't going to try to sign him.