- Isaiah Thomas Says Celtics Would Have Won Title If He Had Never Been Traded to Cavs
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- Channing Frye Explains Why Detroit Pistons Are Going to Be Dangerous in Playoffs
- Dan Gilbert, Larry Drew, and Channing Frye Offer Huge Praise for Collin Sexton
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- Kyrie Irving Says LeBron James Was ‘Thirsty for Rebounds’ With Cavs
- Collin Sexton Breaks Cavs Rookie Record Set by LeBron James
- J.R. Smith Says He’s Beaten Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Other All-Stars 1-on-1
- Kevin Love Speaks Out on Facing Dirk Nowitzki One Last Time
5 Shooting Guards Cavs Could Sign If J.R. Smith Doesn’t Re-Sign
- Updated: September 21, 2016
But now, with training camp approaching and Smith about to skip the team’s minicamp, the idea that Smith may not be on the Cavs next season is starting to become a real possibility.
Smith seems set on earning a large payday, especially after players like Jamal Crawford, Courtney Lee, Arron Afflalo and Eric Gordon signed contracts for right around $15 million per year or more.
With contract negotiations seemingly at an impasse, it may be time for the Cavs to start looking into some backup options should Smith opt to sign with another squad this season.
Here are five of the most likely options for the Cavs if Smith ends up playing in another city.
1. Jimmy Butler
Somehow, Smith’s contract situation also impacts the likelihood of Kevin Love finding himself on the trading block.
If Smith decides not to return to Cleveland this season, one should fully expect the Cavs to pick up the phone and start inquiring about some of the top shooting guards in the league. The most likely team to pick up the other end of that phone call is the Chicago Bulls.
Jimmy Butler has been on the trading block for some time now, and a straight-up swap for Butler and Love makes sense for both sides, especially if both teams stumble out of the gate.
While the Bulls have recently changed their stance on trading Butler, if things go south early, that stance could immediately reverse and put him right back on the trading block.
If Smith is gone, it would open the door on the roster for someone like Butler to come in and fill the shooting guard role and make the Cavs one of the most elite defensive teams in the league as well. And more than that, Butler could use his ability as a ball-dominant player to run the point guard position when Kyrie Irving is out of the game with the second unit.
Really what Butler would give the Cavs is an unprecedented amount of versatility on both sides of the ball. Butler can guard point guards as well as wing players, allowing Irving to save his energy for the offensive side of the ball.
Offensively, it would give the Cavs three dynamite playmakers in Butler, Irving and LeBron James, especially in one-on-one situations late in the game.
Again, should Smith opt to play somewhere else, expect the Cavs to turn around quickly and start making phone calls to other teams in the league.
Next: Mario Chalmers