The Cavaliers have dribbled out the final seconds of JR Smith’s time with the team.
The Cavs waived Smith on Monday, thanking him in a tweet announcing the move.
Thank you, @TheRealJRSmith 🏆
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) July 15, 2019
Smith will now receive over $4.4 million, according to The Athletic, and become a free agent after almost five seasons with the organization.
Sources: The Cleveland Cavaliers have waived JR Smith, making him a free agent. Cavs had been attempting to move Smith all the way up until the 5 p.m. ET waiver deadline today.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 15, 2019
It ends an era in Cleveland in which Smith was part of NBA Finals teams.
His shirtless celebration of the Cavaliers’ 2016 title was among his most memorable moments — Smith opened the second half Game 7 by making three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half, erasing most of a Warriors lead.
His most meme-able moment? Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, when he grabbed a rebound at the end of the game and, forgetting that the Cavs weren’t winning, dribbled out most of the final seconds of the fourth quarter. It was a gaffe followed by LeBron James yelling at him and then walking away.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) June 1, 2018
Smith also will be remembered for being visible on the city’s sports scene, a regular at Browns and Indians games. He even played in the celebrity softball game as part of this month’s MLB All-Star Game in Cleveland.
Now with Smith’s release, the Cavaliers will remain about $22 million over the cap, set at $109 million for the upcoming season but still under the luxury tax line of $132 million.
Talks of trading Smith began shortly after he was asked to leave the team in November, when the Cavs considered him a trade asset. Instead, they were unable to complete any deals involving him — Cleveland had hoped to get a future first-round pick — and eventually saw waiving him and staying under the luxury tax line as a benefit itself.
It allows the Cavs to stay out of the repeater tax until they are ready to be competitive again, and it also gives them financial flexibility, something they view as important during this rebuild, according to cleveland.com, which earlier Monday was first to report of Smith’s impending release.
Smith, 33, played in only 11 games in 2018-19 after agreeing to leave the team in November to await a trade or his release. A 15-year NBA veteran, he is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter.