The wait is finally over. After a long season of sitting out, J.R. Smith has a chance to step on the court once again. According to various reports, the Cleveland Cavaliers have waived J.R. Smith. Their decision comes after failing to make a trade.
Sources: The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived JR Smith, making him a free agent. Cavs had been attempting to move Smith all the way up until the 5 p.m. ET waiver deadline today.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 15, 2019
Smith played 11 games for the Cavaliers in the 2018-19 season, where he averaged 6.7 points and 1.9 assists.
After a rough start for the Cavaliers, Smith grew frustrated and voiced his displeasures. He said that the Cavs were not trying to win and wanted to lose to get lottery picks. The Cavaliers also reduced his role and focused on their younger players.
Once Smith’s frustration reached the public, the Cavaliers announced that he would no longer be with the team. The Cavs said the organization would work with Smith and his representation regarding his future. Smith and the Cavs wanted to reach an agreement and make a move that would benefit both sides.
Despite looking for deals, the Cavs did not find a trade partner. They discussed deals with teams such as the Miami Heat before the draft, but nothing came out of it. The Cavs even tried to trade Smith to the Warriors in exchange for Andre Iguodala. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported that the Cavs offered lighter protections” in an Iguodala-Smith swap. But the Warriors traded Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies.
With no trade in the works, the Cavs decided to waive Smith. The Cavs will stretch his $4.3 million guaranteed over the next few seasons. This means Smith will only count for $1.4 million against the Cavs’s salary cap over three seasons rather than $4.3 million this year. So, this keeps the Cavs below the luxury tax.
Smith joined the Cavs in 2015. The Cavs acquired Smith in a three-team trade with the Knicks and Thunder. Since then, Smith played for the Cavs and was a part of their 2016 championship team. Now, his time with the Cavaliers has come to an end.
As a free agent, Smith can go to any teams interested in his services. The Lakers were believed to be a team interested, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are an unlikely destination. So, Smith will likely go elsewhere.
Once guard JR Smith clears waivers, the Los Angeles Lakers are an unlikely destination, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 15, 2019
When Smith officially clears waivers, he can join a new team and get a fresh start. It is only a matter of where.
Featured image courtesy of USA Today Sports