Koby Altman admits J.R. Smith is a trade asset
According to Cavs general manager Koby Altman, the team are open to using Smith as a trading chip for a potential deal that will benefit Cleveland in the long-run.
Altman says #Cavs are always going to be open to adding more draft assets. Acknowledges that J.R. Smith is a trade chip.
— Spencer Davies (@SpinDavies) April 12, 2019
Smith recently concluded his fifth season with the Cavs, following a trade from the New York Knicks back in 2015. After helping the Cavs win their first ever title, the 6-foot-6 guard/forward was rewarded with a four-year extension to the tune of $57 million.
That deal extends to next season, which means that next summer, Smith will become an unrestricted free agent. There might be some teams who are willing to take on the remainder of his expiring deal.
Moreover, Smith does bring championship-caliber experience to any squad, and might also be called upon as a veteran presence for a young and up-and-coming team with championship aspirations.
The Cavs are expected to win an extremely high pick in the upcoming draft lottery. Barring a disaster, the team should be looking at a top 3 pick in a talent-packed draft class, so it is likely that they are able to scoop up a franchise-altering prospect in June. If they get lucky, they might even land Zion Williamson.
Coupled with incoming sophomore guard Collin Sexton, the Cavs already have the nucleus of their team for the foreseeable future. Given this, it is understandable why they will be on the lookout for future assets, and are willing to part ways with veterans such as Smith.