Dallas Mavericks should trade for J.R. Smith before July 1

Dallas Mavericks JR Smith (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** JR Smith
Dallas Mavericks JR Smith (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** JR Smith /

The Dallas Mavericks should trade for J.R. Smith because it creates more cap space. Here is an in-depth look at the complicated situation.

The Dallas Mavericks want to reach the playoffs in 2020. That goal will be unattainable unless the Mavs add pieces this offseason. They have cap space and a young core to sell free agents on. The Mavericks may be multiple pieces away from reaching the postseason, though.

The Mavs front office should explore a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire J.R. Smith. That sentence seems off given he played 11 games this season and turns 34 in September. Smith has one of the most desirable contracts in the NBA, though.

Last deal under an old rule

J.R. Smith is set to make $15.68 million next season. Only $3.87 million of that is guaranteed if he is off the roster by July 1.

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Here is where things get a bit complicated. The newest CBA changed the way teams are allowed to match salaries. Now, only the guaranteed portion of the contract counts. Smith’s is the only deal that goes under the old rule where his entire $15.68 million salary is considered.

The team that acquires him can waive him or use the stretch provision on Smith. If his contract gets stretched, his cap hit would be $1.29 million. That creates a significant amount of cap space making his deal valuable to a plethora of contending teams.

Mavs interested?

The Dallas Mavericks should be keen to acquire J.R. Smith’s contract. Hoops Rumors detailed the Mavs as one of three teams that could make the trade which fans can read here.

The Cavaliers are rebuilding. They will be looking for a young asset and/or picks in addition to the undesirable contract that matches with Smith’s.

Assets Dallas can offer

The Mavericks cannot trade a first round pick until at least 2025. That eliminates that possibility. The Mavs have a second round in every year, though. They also have the Heat’s 2023 second rounder. Other teams may be willing to offer more desirable draft capital to trade for Smith.

Dallas would likely be willing to add Justin Jackson into the deal to create the additional cap space. Jackson is on the second year of a rookie contract, but he already turned 24 years old. The forward had a strong close to the season and should be a desirable addition for the Cavs.

The Mavs would likely be matching with Courtney Lee’s $12.76 million deal. The trade featuring Lee and Jackson plus stretching Smith would create approximately $14.29 million of additional cap space for Dallas to acquire free agents this summer.

Final thoughts

The Dallas Mavericks should trade for J.R. Smith before July 1. The Mavs could use the stretch provision on his contract and create significantly more cap space to acquire free agents this summer.

Mavericks fans cannot wait for the offseason action to get underway. They are hoping to acquire pieces to pair with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Having an addition $14 million could mean adding Patrick Beverley or Julius Randle in addition to a star like Kemba Walker. That would give the Mav a starting five that could rival the NBA’s best teams.

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