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Report: J.R. Smith Drawing Interest From 2 Western Conference Playoff Contenders
- Updated: December 8, 2018
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reported to have gotten some interest from two teams regarding a possible trade involving veteran guard J.R. Smith. Unlike the Cavaliers, the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans are both in playoff contention in the Western Conference and seek some depth as they make their respective postseason pushes.
Expect the Cavaliers to try to move on next from JR Smith. I heard this week they received some interest for Smith from the Rockets and Pelicans—both teams need depth at the wing position. Smith's 2019-20 salary is guaranteed for only $3.9M, so it has some value as a trade chip.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) December 7, 2018
The 33-year-old Smith has been in limbo since the Cavaliers ruled that he would no longer be playing for the team. That came in the wake of his explosive charge that the team was tanking the 2018-19 campaign in order to obtain a top draft pick.
Smith agreed to a four-year contract with the Cavaliers worth potentially $57 million in October 2016, just months after the team had won the franchise’s first NBA title. He technically has two years remaining on that deal and is scheduled to earn $14.72 million this season. However, as the tweet notes, only $3.9 million of his $15.68 million for next season is guaranteed.
The rebuilding circumstances that the Cavs currently find themselves in mean that high-priced veterans like Smith are strong candidates to be traded. That was evident on Friday regarding the Cavaliers’ three-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards that sent point guard George Hill to the Bucks.
That painful rebuilding process was once again seen on Friday night, when the Cavaliers dropped to 5-20 on the year after losing 129-110 to the Sacramento Kings at Quicken Loans Arena.