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Report: HEAT interested in trading for JR Smith

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Jacari McRae | June 4th, 2019

A year removed from playing in the NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has been on the sidelines, a place he’s been since November of last year. The Cavaliers tried to move him at last year’s deadline, but couldn’t come to an agreement with other teams. Now, with July 1st approaching, they’re likely to get more calls about the guard.

One team that will be interested is the Miami Heat, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

https://twitter.com/ChefTrillie/status/1135955505111871489

The Heat are likely not interested in Smith the player. He’s coming off two of the worst seasons of his career and he hasn’t played in a NBA game since last November. It’s Smith’s contract that interests the Heat, who’s salary cap for the 2019-20 season is around $137 million–assuming both Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside opt-in as expected. Smith’s 2019-20 salary of $15.68 million is only guaranteed for $3.87 million. If Smith remains on a roster passed July 1st, his $15.68 million dollar salary would then become fully guaranteed. It’s very likely he’ll be waived before then.

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In a potential deal with the Cavaliers, the Heat could offer forward James Johnson, who will make $15.1 million next season and has a player option for $15.7 million in 2020-21, along with a future first-round pick as a sweetener. This way, the Cavaliers will get another first round pick to help in their rebuild and the Heat can clear salary, which has been a longtime goal.

All in all, barring surprising opt-outs from Dragic and Whiteside, this is likely just a cap move to avoid the tax and create some more financial flexibility for 2020.

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