JR Smith has been very public that he does not want to play in Cleveland anymore. Today, he took his trade demand to the next level. The Cavaliers have now confirmed that JR will no longer be with the team and will work out on his own until he is traded.
Statement from the Cavaliers on JR Smith: " pic.twitter.com/WHTo8etdj6
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 20, 2018
With LeBron coming back to Cleveland on Wednesday, I don’t blame JR for wanting to be as far away from the court as possible. If I were JR, I’d want no chance of LeBron seeking revenge on me for the score blunder in Game 1 of the Finals.
After last nights loss to the Pistons, JR reiterated his desire to be traded and that the main goal of the Cavs right now is to lose.
“I don’t think the goal is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can. I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”
Also, JR told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic he does not have a relationship with GM Koby Altman and that he would not accept a buy out of his contract.
“I don’t want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland. I don’t think that’s fair to the people I see every single day walking around the arena. I don’t think that’s fair to the trainers or equipment guys. … I just look at it differently than being traded. I don’t like the statement of getting bought out.”
The disfunction surrounding the Cavs organization grows more and more each day. I don’t know how sitting out helps JR Smith’s trade value. I think he should play to show other teams he’s still able to contribute. Though, according to Windhorst, it appears his contract is what brings the most value as a trade asset.
JR Smith's contract has some arcane but legit value as it's grandfathered into the old CBA. Therefore it can be traded for his full $15.6M value and then waived for his $3.8M guarantee next summer. This makes it somewhat of an asset so buyout is unlikely right now.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 20, 2018
Even with a somewhat favorable contract, I just don’t know what kind of team would want to trade for him. If I’m a contender looking to add a shooter off the bench, JR Smith isn’t even the best shooting guard on the Cavs trade block! Kyle Korver is cheaper and brings more on and off the court. From the comments he’s made, it doesn’t sound like he wants to play for a team outside the playoffs. So, if I’m a young team looking to free up cap space next season, would I want to bring JR into my locker room if he’s going to be upset about minutes or our record?
The only scenario I could see someone potentially being interested in him is if there’s a middle of the road team looking to add a shooter at a minimum cost. Best case scenario, JR plays well and helps your team to a bottom playoff spot. Worst case, it doesn’t work out and you can waive him next year and take some money off the books. But, even in that situation, I’d rather add Korver if I’m that team while he’s still available.
I’ve said this before, but I think all the Cavs’ veterans were stuck in a tough spot when LeBron left. It sucks that the end of their careers are being wasted on a terrible team. Still, if there’s nobody out there willing to trade for you when you’re playing, I don’t see how stepping away from the team is going to help increase your value.
All I know for sure is this sucks and I hate seeing the team suck.