About two weeks into the 2016-2017 NBA regular season, there are already NBA rumors running wild about the Cleveland Cavaliers wanting to trade away starting shooting guard J.R. Smith. Why would the Cavs trade away a player they did not let go in free agency and actually offered a multi-million, multi-year contract?
Simply, it’s another baseless rumor without logic for both what the franchises from Cleveland and Phoenix are trying to do this season, and for the long-term.
3 reasons why Cavs-Suns deal won’t happen:
1. Sticking with the Championship core
First, the Cavaliers do not want to blow up the core of the team that brought them the first championship in their franchise’s history. J.R. Smith is a crucial piece and a special player when added to their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
Smith, who was a controversial player in the past, provides consistent outside shooting and understands that he can be the fourth option on most nights for the Cavaliers.
2. Cavs can’t trade J.R. Smith until January 2017
NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement rules say that J.R. Smith cannot be traded three months after he has signed his contract, which means the veteran SG can only be traded to the Suns, or another team, on January 14, 2017.
3. J.R. Smith is 31 years old; Eric Bledsoe is 26
This trade is just downright senseless for Phoenix because of the age difference between the two players. Even if the Cavs offer the Suns a future first-round pick, it still does not make sense for Phoenix since Cleveland’s pick will be in the high 30s because they are one of the top teams not only in the East but also in the entire league.
If the Suns are trading away Bledsoe, as mentioned in other NBA rumors, they are likely looking for a younger prospect in return to pair with rising guard Devin Booker. And if the Suns are trading away Bledsoe, they might be better off acquiring a big forward or big man since they still have Brandon Knight under contract.
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