The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in acquiring J.R. Smith as they look to add another three-and-D wing to the bench.
Carmelo Anthony has cleared waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent. He is expected to sign with Houston, which is a move that will give the Rockets a scoring threat and more depth and the wing position. But Daryl Morey isn’t going to stop there.
On a recent episode of The Lowe Post, Zach Lowe reported that the Rockets have “kicked the tires” on J.R. Smith.
A possible trade would make sense for both teams. Yesterday, the Cavaliers signed shooting guard David Nwaba to a new deal. The Cavs, who also drafted point guard Collin Sexton in June, are bringing in more youth ahead of next season. Kyle Korver, Rodney Hood and Jordan Clarkson will also fight of minutes in Cleveland’s guard rotation.
Smith, who has two years and about $30 million left on his contract, could be the odd man out. That makes Smith a solid trade candidate for Houston, a team that needs additional wing players after the departures of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.
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Lowe didn’t mention who the Rockets would need to give up in order to acquire Smith. Although, it would be ideal if Houston could include Ryan Anderson in a trade package for Smith. The Rockets are unlikely to play Anderson against teams that have versatile forwards, like the Warriors, Lakers or Celtics, which makes him useless against some of the league’s elite teams. Getting his massive contract off of the books would also give Daryl Morey more cap room.
J.R. Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year Award in the 2012-13 season, but he isn’t quite the same player anymore. However, Smith still averaged 8.3 points per game and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range last year. Smith was also Cleveland’s best defender and he did a solid job on Victor Oladipo and DeMar DeRozan in the playoffs.
Smith won’t play anywhere near the 28.1 minutes that he averaged in Cleveland last season. Although, he can give Houston solid minutes as a spark plug off of the bench. Like Gerald Green, Smith can catch fire from beyond the arc on any given night and he isn’t shy about launching up 3-pointers.
There will be concerns around Houston about Smith staying out of trouble if he joins the Rockets. On Wednesday, Smith allegedly took a fan’s cellphone and threw it in a construction site, according to TMZ Sports.
An important thing to note is that Smith’s contract for the 2019-20 season has only $3.8 million guaranteed, according to HoopsHype. So if Smith’s tenure in Houston were to go terribly wrong, the Rockets could get rid of him for a fairly low price next summer.