When details emerged of J.R. Smith's new deal with the Cavaliers, it seemed as though the team was treading extremely lightly in terms of guaranteeing Smith a spot on the team for two full seasons.
The first year was only guaranteed for $2 million, though there were dates and incentives in place that made it likely he'd get all of year one's $5 million.
As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders points out, Smith's deal becomes fully guaranteed on Sept. 7, just a few short days from now. So why was there a need to bother with a partial guarantee in the first place? Because the same guarantee date is in place for 2016.
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If things don't work out with Smith this season, the Cavaliers aren't on the hook for all of the $5.4 million Smith would be set to earn next season. They can either trade his contract (which is only $2 million guaranteed), or waive him outright while losing as little money as possible.
Despite all of this, it was still a smart decision for Smith to opt out of the $6.4 million he was owed for this year. He can veto any trade during the upcoming season, and he'll still earn more money than he would have in total.
At least Smith knows that he'll be playing for a contender for the entirety of the season. Whether or not he can stick beyond that is truly in his hands.