Though they currently hold the best record in the league, the Milwaukee Bucks still continue to find ways to upgrade their current roster. Before the February NBA trade deadline, the Bucks engaged in a trade deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire veteran small forward Nikola Mirotic.
After the February NBA trade deadline, the Bucks have started targeting players who are or will be available on the buyout market. According to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, one of the players the Bucks are currently keeping an eye on is J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“The Milwaukee Bucks are interested in exiled Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith and you can be certain Smith has interest in the Bucks. But any sort of relationship between the two will likely have to wait. Smith is at the point where he would accept a buyout out of his contract, simply because he wants to play (and a nice fat check). The Cavs have no desire to offer one anymore — simply because it just doesn’t benefit them. They can again try to trade Smith after the season, and most certainly will.”
J.R. Smith has been removed from the Cavaliers’ rotation since November, but as of now, he remains an official member of the team. The Cavaliers tried moving him before the February NBA trade deadline, but they failed to find a team who’s willing to give up future draft assets for the veteran shooting guard. Though most people are expecting Smith and the Cavaliers to negotiate a contract buyout, Amico revealed that it won’t be happening anytime soon.
As Amico noted, the Cavaliers don’t see any benefit by buying out J.R. Smith’s contract. When the 2018-19 NBA season is over, the Cavaliers may consider making Smith available once again on the trade market. Trading the veteran shooting guard in the 2019 NBA offseason will be easier for the Cavaliers since only $4 million of his $15.6 million salary for the 2019-20 NBA season is guaranteed.
It’s easy to understand why the Bucks are interested in adding J.R. Smith to their roster. Smith may be the odd man out in Cleveland, but he is still the man who served as the Cavaliers starting shooting guard in their four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. Despite his deteriorating performance, Smith’s championship experience and ability to defend and knock down shots from beyond the arc could help the Bucks make a deep playoff run this season.