The Cleveland Cavaliers have been trying to get a suitor to trade J.R. Smith for a while now, with the team claiming he was “away from the team” for much of this season. No deals could be carried out for the 2016 NBA Champions and their controversial player, but now that might be changing since the Miami Heat are reportedly interested in Smith’s contract.
Shams Charania explained this in his recent article for 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.”
Smith, 33, made $14.7 million this season, and $3.8 million of his $15.6 million salary for next season is guaranteed. Under its current deal, Smith won’t be allowed to be an unrestricted free agent until 2020. This season he played in 11 games with the Cavs, starting four of those and racking up averages of 6.7 points on 34.2 percent shooting from the field (30.8 percent from beyond the arc), 1.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game.
J.R., as many people know, is one of the last remaining players of Cleveland’s championship-winning team in 2016. LeBron James decided to play with the Lakers last summer, and Channing Frye has retired, leaving Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson and Smith as the last three Cavs that defeated the Warriors three years ago.
It’s not like his career is over, but maybe a new start is what Smith needs in order to reach a level close to the one he had in Cleveland the first years. However, it’s still uncertain whether the Heat will make a move for Smith or not, but it sounds like there is a certain level of interest.