I thought long and hard about putting J.R. Smith on this list because right now, he’s untradeable!
He and the Cavs have already split. The Cavs have no leverage in any potential deal. It would just be easier for Cleveland to buy him out.
Smith wants to be traded. After all, why negotiate a buyout for a lesser sum when all that money is coming your way, right?
I’ve been talking myself into Smith not playing again this season because of his unwillingness to accept a buyout.
But then, again, this is the NBA.
Smith’s contract becomes valuable…next season. There may be a team who wants it.
Smith hasn’t been a very good player ever since signing a four-year extension following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Finals win.
But he played very well in the Finals and he was one of LeBron’s guys. If Cleveland hadn’t signed him, there would’ve been widespread panic regarding how the move not to keep him would’ve impacted LeBron’s decision to stay in northeast Ohio.
Well, three years later, James is gone and Smith is still here, and nobody wants to pay him the $14.7 million he’s due.
The Cavs are paying it because they don’t have a choice.
However, there’s hope for a trade because Smith’s contract can provide salary relief next season. He’s due about $15.7 million, but he can be bought out for around $3 million.
If the Cavs have to keep him and buy him out at season’s end, so be it.
However, I think Cleveland will be aggressive in looking for assets and help with the salary cap might be appealing to some other team.