Former NBA champion J.R. Smith has been waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night sources tell ESPN. Smith was waived before his salary of $15.6 million becomes guaranteed at 5 pm EST. The Cavaliers were looking to trade Smith but will have to instead pay him $4.4 million-plus of his contract according to Shams Charania.
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
J.R. Smith averaged 10 points per game, 2.3 three-point makes per game, on 40 percent shooting with the Cavs. He was an integral piece of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers team which came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA title. He now hits the open market wherein multiple teams will look for his services.
The Philadelphia 76ers are a top-heavy team and easily have one of the tallest lineups in the league. However, they are in need of three-point shooting and scoring off the bench with Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick leaving. Smith offers the team a perimeter option and a three-point threat off the bench. His shot-creating may be essential to the Sixers as well once the Playoffs kick in.
You can never have enough ballhandlers on a team. The Rockets trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook is an upgrade talent-wise but they will need to space the floor. Smith gives them the option to have an extra spot-up shooter alongside P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, Danuel House.
Their chemistry might become an issue, but if Smith is willing to take on a bench role in Houston, he may carve out valuable minutes for a contender in the West.
J.R. Smith will get to return to New York—but this time for the other team. He gets to reunite with former teammate, Kyrie Irving and will be able to play key minutes this season with Kevin Durant out. The Brooklyn Nets currently have Garrett Temple as their backup shooting guard, but that is mainly for salary cap purposes only.
Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Lakers
Adrian Wojnarowski has stated that the Lakers won’t pursue Smith with their last roster spot. It was expected that the Los Angeles Lakers‘ front office would pursue LeBron James‘ former teammate but that won’t be the case. The Lakers have one remaining roster spot to sign a free agent.
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