JR Smith Waived by Cavaliers, Becomes Free Agent

JR Smith. Photo by Leandro Justen/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a long-anticipated move official on Monday, waiving veteran shooting guard JR Smith after four seasons.

Cleveland thanked Smith for his part in the franchise’s first-ever NBA title in a goodbye tweet on Monday evening. While Smith’s career with the Cavaliers was imperfect, his bench scoring was vital in the Cavs’ stunning comeback NBA Finals win against the Golden State Warriors in summer 2016.

The unpredictable spark plug joined Cleveland after a journeyman career which took him through New Orleans, Denver, New York, and even China before he teamed up with the Cavs’ Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love.

He was known for his brilliant and frustrating moments with the Cavs, such as when he apparently forgot that the game was tied, foregoing a chance to shoot and win the game, in the Cavs’ Game 1 loss to the Warriors in the 2018 Finals.

The best season of his career so far came in 2012-13, when he was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 18.1 points per game off of the bench for the Knicks.

Smith stepped away from the Cavaliers last season despite being under contract after expressing his desire to be traded to a contender. Now, after the Cavs’ decision to not keep his $15 million contract on the roster as the team rebuilds, he’ll have the chance to join one.