The Cavs will now try to trade the shooting guard between the 2019 NBA Draft and the opening of free agency. As Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal has reported, the team is not interested in discussing a buyout with Smith:
Trade deadline passes and J.R. Smith remains on #Cavs' roster, away from team. League source said there will be no buyout discussions with J.R.— Marla Ridenour (@MRidenourABJ) February 7, 2019
Moving Smith at that point probably makes the most sense for teams anyways. There is a very real possibility that Smith has played his last game in the NBA and there didn’t seem to be much interest from other teams in adding him for the stretch run.
But by the time the draft comes around, teams can trade a larger, guaranteed contract in exchange for Smith’s, which only has $3.8 million of it’s $16 million guaranteed.
Overall this season has gone really well from an asset accumulation standpoint. Kyle Korver, Rodney Hood, George Hill and Sam Dekker were moved for two first-round picks, six second-round picks, John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova and Brandon Knight.
It’s clear that when the Cavs were looking to take on bad contracts in exchange for assets, they were looking for deals that didn’t extend into the summer of 2020.
All three contracts that were acquired this season becoming expiring contracts that may become valuable next season as the team looks to re-fill it’s cupboard. Not a bad start to the rebuild for Koby Altman.