Cavs’ potential J.R. Smith trade before deadline ‘easier said than done’
Following LeBron James’ departure last summer, the Cleveland Cavaliers immediately began their rebuilding phase this season, breaking up the team that led them to the NBA Finals last year. The Cavs have already sent Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz, Rodney Hood to the Portland Trail Blazers, and Alec Burks to the Houston Rockets. In return for these four players, the Cavs got a ton of draft picks which they will be using for the franchise’s future success.
However, one notable name has been left out of trade discussions. Veteran guard J.R. Smith has been shut down by the Cavs in November and hasn’t played since. There are reports that the Cavaliers are still hoping to move him before the trade deadline, but according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, finding someone who’s willing to take Smith is going to be extremely difficult for the Cavs.
Even after agreeing to their fourth trade this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers stayed busy on deadline eve, looking to find a new home for exiled swingman JR Smith, and the front office will continue with that goal up until 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, league sources told cleveland.com.
Smith, who hasn’t played organized basketball since Nov. 19, 2018 and was recently spotted at Madison Square Garden as a fan, doesn’t have nearly as much value as some of the other pieces the Cavs have moved recently. Finding a trade partner is “easier said than done,” according to one source.
The Cavs know that a Smith deal is a long shot. That’s why they prioritized Kyle Korver, George Hill, Sam Dekker, Rodney Hood and Alec Burks — all five players that have been traded already, netting the Cavs six second-round picks, two firsts and a couple of future expiring contracts that add to their asset chest.
In the case of Smith, his value was incredibly low when the Cavs acquired him in 2015 and he possesses a well-documented, lengthy history of slip-ups. Smith’s also been one of the worst players in the NBA for the last two years and it’s hard to see that changing after so much time away.
Smith was instrumental in the Cavaliers’ 2016 title run, However, he has been inconsistent for the past couple of years. So it’s understandable that no one is willing to take a gamble on him.
The Cavs are moving on from LeBron James, and as they look forward to their future, it is obvious that Smith is no longer going to be a part of it.