6. Endure Tristan, J.R. and George
Thompson will earn $17.5 million this season and $18.5 million the year after.
As for Smith, everyone’s still bumming on him for forgetting the score and it’s deserved. But try not to get wrapped up in his Game 1 mistake. The Cavs weren’t winning that series even if they stole Game 1.
Smith was a key part of the 2016 championship team, and let’s remember him for that.
Smith’s going to be around for the 2018-2019 season. He’s $15.6 million contract ensures it, and that’s OK. The Cavs will be bad and J.R. won’t help them win many games.
But will he become distraction?
Remember Smith with the Knicks before the Cavs’ traded for him? Well, it wasn’t a match made in Heaven. When things are going bad, J.R.’s antics are amplified by 1,000 percent.
When he’s on a winning team, well, he’s that quirky guy you love to have who won’t wear a shirt for a week after winning the title.
In 2019-2020, Smith’s guaranteed just $3.8 million. Perhaps they could move him them.
By this period of time, the Cavs will be well into their rebuild, collecting assets and opening up cap space. They can either trade Smith to a team who wants to create cap space, or they can do it themselves, freeing up about $12 million…in the same year Kyrie Irving plans to become a free agent #JustSayin.
It’d be hard to argue against the Cavs just keeping both deals and letting them expire. Tristan and JR aren’t suddenly going to become elite players who have the Cavs contending for a title without LeBron.
As for Hill, he’s due $18 million two years from now, and luckily, only a million of that sum is guaranteed.
The non-guaranteed contracts of Hill and Smith will be assets at a time when cap space is coveted. You’ve just to to wait for those deals ripen.