Cavaliers waive JR Smith, clearing way for veteran to become unrestricted free agent; Lakers reportedly not interested
The Cavaliers decided to waive Smith after being unable to find a trade partner
The Cleveland Cavaliers are finally moving on from JR Smith. Unable to find a trade partner, the team has waived the veteran swingman. Smith will now be an unrestricted free agent. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers will not be a potential destination for Smith, despite his connection to LeBron James.
Cleveland announced the move on Monday evening in a statement posted to both Twitter and their team website.
The move was expected following earlier reports about the Cavaliers' plans regarding Smith from Joe Vardon of The Athletic, and Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Heading into Monday, there was the possibility that the two sides could agree to extend Monday's deadline by paying Smith another $750,000, but there was no agreement.
The Cavaliers have been shopping Smith on the trade market for a long time, dating back to the early days of the 2018-19 season when they shut him down from playing on November 19. Despite being uninjured, Smith only appeared in 11 games before the Cavaliers opted to simply sit him.
The 14-year veteran had served as the team's starting shooting guard since he was acquired from the New York Knicks in a trade package during the 2014-15 season. Smith would go onto to start in four consecutive Finals, including playing a key role in the Cavs overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to win the championship.
However, after LeBron James left the franchise prior to the start of the 2018-19 campaign and coach Tyronn Lue was fired after an 0-6 start to the season, the organization made it clear that it was in an all-out rebuilding mode. Cleveland went on to trade veterans Kyle Korver, George Hill and Rodney Hood during the season.
It is unclear at this time what teams would be interested in Smith, but considering he's a career 37.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range as recently as the 2017-18 season, there should be some NBA franchise willing to sign the established veteran for the 2019-20 season.
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