Cavaliers deep in Smith trade talks; Lakers a possibility

Sam Amico

The Los Angeles Lakers are a potential destination for J.R. Smith, sent home by the Cavaliers in July.

That's the word from

Could LeBron and J.R. Smith reunite in Los Angeles? @ChrisBHaynes says don't rule it out ?

— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) June 25, 2019

">Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who reported that Smith could possibly reunite with former Cavs teammate LeBron James in LA.

The Cavs are deep in trade scenarios with several teams on potential Smith deals. If they are unable to find a taker, the Cavs are expected to waive Smith this weekend. His contract becomes fully guaranteed after June 30. If Smith is waived before then, only about $3.9 million of the $15 million on his deal would be paid.

Rival teams may be interested, however, as Smith would enable them to dump some salary of their own on the Cavs.

It appears Cavs general manager Koby Altman is OK with that, within reason, provided the Cavs receive an additional asset.

“We’re definitely going to investigate what we can do there,” Altman said. “There’s a pain threshold of doing it, going into the tax, which we would have to do in terms of taking back money and the rest of the NBA knowing that we’re in the tax and my job would be getting us out of the tax.

"Is there enough value there to do that, to put ourselves out there like that? I think that’s something we are weighing these last few days. There’s opportunity to do it. It’s just how deep do we want to go into the tax to bring back an asset? Also, what does it take us out of into the year? We’re still looking to add assets throughout the year, so using JR now might take us out of that.”

Smith, who turns 34 before the season, was a member of the Cavs' run of four straight trips to the Finals, but fell out of favor with the front office and coaching staff this past season. He was sent home in November after appearing in 11 games and averaging 6.7 points on 34 percent shooting.

The NBA free agency period starts Sunday.