The Cleveland Cavaliers may have a difficult time trading shooting guard J.R. Smith before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
J.R. Smith has not appeared in a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers since November 19. At that moment in time Smith and the Cavaliers agreed to mutually part ways in an effort to facilitate a trade. While many expect Smith to be potentially moved before the deadline, a deal appears unlikely.
Cleveland decided to move in a different direction in regards to roster composition and essentially play the young guys when possible. That means that J.R. Smith was on the outside looking in. Even when Smith did appear in games his overall performance was quite lackluster. Smith was averaging a career-low 6.7 points per game on a career-low 34.2 shooting percentage. Smith’s 30.8 three-point percentage is the second-worst in his career. Granted Smith was not given ample playing time. The 20.2 minutes per game Smith played were the third-lowest in his career up to this point and his lowest in 11 years.
J.R. Smith’s contract situation
The other obstacle with J.R. Smith is his contract. For the 2018-19 season Smith is making just over $14.7 million. Next season $3.87 million of his $15.68 million is guaranteed. While this points towards a potential buyout situation, if a buyout does not occur that is a lot of money to pay a player who has largely disappointed as of late.
Is it possible that J.R. Smith gets traded? Sure. The real question is if it is likely. That is where it points towards a resounding no. Even is Smith were to be traded there is no doubt he will be a bit rusty and not ready to play immediately. Add in the fact that his performance this season has been uninspiring, it will be difficult for the Cavaliers to move the veteran guard. The reality of the situation is that J.R. Smith is likely to be bought out of his contract at some point rather than traded.