Heading into the offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the biggest questions surrounding the franchise has to be what the team plans to do with J.R. Smith’s contract.
The veteran guard left the franchise last November amid frustration over the direction of the Cavaliers in the post-Lebron James era. Cleveland elected to not waive or buy out his contract as it is an attractive trade asset for teams across the NBA heading into free agency.
Smith is entering the final year of the four-year, $57 million dollar contract he signed back in 2016. The final year is worth $15.6 million but only $3.8 million is guaranteed which would entice teams that could be looking to add cap space with an expected star-studded free agency class on the horizon this summer.
One team that is interested in Smith’s contract would be the Miami Heat according to Shams Charnia of the Athletic.
A team that has expressed an interest in a salary-designed trade of J.R. Smith: the Miami Heat, sources said. The Heat also have contracts they could look to move in the offseason in a deal such as this, and would have to absorb Smith’s deal.https://theathletic.com/1006765/2019/06/04/charanias-inside-pass-all-eyes-on-davis-and-pelicans-future-as-their-talks-begin-to-take-shape-plus-more-league-notes/
The Heat are currently have $140 million tied up to their roster heading into the 2019-20 season.
They won’t be major players in free agency as they are $31 million over the salary cap and with Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic having player options on the table, it would be surprising if they were to opt out and become free agents.
Miami does have some contracts that Cleveland would be likely to take on in a potential trade if they were to give up either the 13th overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft or a future first-round pick.
- Dion Waiters (2 years, $24.7 million remaining)
- James Johnson (2 years, $31.3 million remaining)
- Kelly Olynyk (2 years, $25.7 million remaining)
Cleveland has taken on multi-year contracts in previous trades in order to stockpile future draft picks and with owner Dan Gilbert’s commitment to helping the team achieve success, the team is willing to take on “bad contracts” in order to build up assets for the future.
June 29 is essentially the deadline to move Smith’s contract and whoever has him on the roster needs to cut him by June 30 at 6 PM in order to ensure his contract isn’t fully guaranteed.