Bucks reportedly have interest in JR Smith
JR Smith has not appeared in a game for the Cleveland Cavaliers in over three months, but there is apparently still at least one playoff contender hoping for a chance to add him down the stretch.
Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports that the Milwaukee Bucks have interest in Smith, though there is not much optimism that the veteran will reach a buyout agreement with the Cavs before the March 1 deadline to be eligible to play in the postseason. Smith is currently guaranteed $3.9 million for next season, and that number will increase to $15.7 million if he remains on the roster after July 1. Cleveland could waive him and pay him the $3.9 million before that, so they do not stand to save that much even with a buyout agreement.
If the Cavs keep Smith on their roster after July 1, they can try to trade him either over the summer or prior to next February’s trade deadline. They could also “waive and stretch” his contract by the August deadline if they’re unable to trade him.
Vardon speculates that Smith might be willing to give back $1 million in a buyout agreement with Cleveland, so you can understand why they might prefer to take their chances of trying to trade him. That said, he’ll be 34 next season and will have taken a lot of time off. Trading him will not be easy, and there seems to be no chance of a reconciliation after the way Smith called out the team earlier this year.
The Bucks are currently 43-14 and in first in the Eastern Conference. It makes sense for them to want to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo as many catch-and-shoot specialists as possible.