Report: Cavs Have Already Received Calls About J.R. Smith

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Veteran guard J.R. Smith remains part of the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, even though he’s been a pariah with respect to the team’s front office.

Past efforts to deal him have come up short, but with the Cavaliers’ season having ended, the team has gotten at least one phone call from a possible trading partner.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic indicated that less than 48 hours after the Cavaliers concluded a miserable 19-63 season, team general manager Koby Altman was reportedly contacted by another team about Smith:

“Altman said the Cavs received a call Thursday on JR Smith. Who knows if that’s true — the Cavs really want to trade Smith’s contract for a pick — but Smith is an example of Cleveland’s long-term strategy that is worth discussing.”

Of course, what the other team offers the Cavaliers for Smith may have minimal value. Still, the team has been seeking to rid themselves of the veteran after he criticized the organization in November for what he perceived was tanking the season in order to obtain a top draft pick.

Altman pointed out why Smith may hold some value for teams prior to the start of free agency in July:

“We are actually the only team in the NBA that can provide guaranteed cap relief from teams or salary relief until July 1. We can guarantee that right now and we actually had a phone call yesterday on that (Smith) trade chip, so, we’re going to keep on being aggressive adding those assets because we do eventually want to consolidate and be really good at some point.”

Those past efforts to trade Smith failed in large part because of the 33-year-old’s contract, which was paying him $14.7 million for the 2018-19 season. In addition, his past off-court issues made dealing him for anything of value virtually impossible.

However, while Smith is scheduled to be paid $15.7 million for the 2019-20 campaign, he’s only guaranteed $3.8 million. Whether it’s the Cavaliers or any team that acquires him, Smith will most likely be released to avoid paying the nearly $12 million in additional salary.

Smith will turn 34 in September and could be seen by other teams as a threat from long range. Yet wherever he lands, he’ll undoubtedly be launching those shots at a discounted rate. The Cavs just hope they get something for him in the next few months.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.