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J.R. Smith trade rumors: Rockets showing interest in acquiring the Cavaliers guard

The Houston Rockets have expressed exploratory interest in acquiring Cleveland Cavaliers veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

The New Orleans Pelicans have also reportedly expressed interest in Smith. 

Though he remains on the team’s roster (for now) Smith is done playing with the Cavaliers, who will be in action on Wednesday night when they host the New York Knicks (7 p.m. ET — Watch on FuboTV with the NBA League Pass extension). According to a recent report from Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Smith is working with the team to find a trade, and in the meantime is working out on his own. 

Though the Rockets are reportedly interested, a trade involving Smith may not happen any time soon, according to ESPN Insider Bobby Marks. Perhaps not even until after the season.

“I think he’s got more value after the season, if you are team looking to move money to clear cap space, because he has a partial (guarantee for 2019-20),” Marks said on a recent appearance on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast. “He’s making $15 million right now. There’s not that many $15 million guys that, if you’re Cleveland, do you want to take on money next year?

“Maybe you go that route, where you’re in a rebuild and you can get something back.” 

Much of Smith’s current frustration with the Cavs stems from the fact that the organization entered the ’18-19 season with the intention to tank, despite claims from the coaching staff and front office that they were going to stay competitive. 

“I’ve been on teams where we’ve won 18 games and the development stage was to try to win at any cost,” Smith said, via The Athletic. “It wasn’t just for my development or the next person. The goal was always to win… I don’t think the goal [this season] is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can. I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”

Though Smith would like to be traded away from Cleveland, he isn’t interested in negotiating a buyout in order to expedite his own exit. 

“I don’t want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland,” Smith said. “I don’t think that’s fair to the people I see every single day walking around the arena. I don’t think that’s fair to the trainers or equipment guys. … I just look at it differently than being traded. I don’t like the statement of getting bought out.”

As a team consistently in need of floor-spacing, Smith projects to be a fit with the Rockets, but we will have to wait and see if a deal gets done. 

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