Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith, who has played sporadically to open the season, is reportedly seeking a trade.
Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Smith has not officially made his intentions known to the Cavs’ front office. The 14-year veteran is averaging a career low 2.5 points per game, but is only playing 12 minutes per game. He was inactive for the Cavs’ season-opener against the Toronto Raptors and did not play in Tuesday’s win against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Cavs are in a state of transition this season and recently fired coach Tyronn Lue after Cleveland’s 0-6 start. Per a recent report from ESPN, Smith was told informed recently that he would be removed from the rotation and not receive guarantees about playing time.
Fedor reports that GM Koby Altman recently sat down with Smith a few days ago to ask him whether or not he wanted to stay around the team while in a lesser role.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the NBA will consider whether or not Smith’s public acknowledgement of his desire to be traded constitutes a fineable offense under the Collective Bargainin agreement.
On Thursday, Smith was asked by a reporter if he hoped to be traded and Smith replied, “Yeah.” Last season, Eric Bledsoe (then of the Phoenix Suns) was fined $10,000 by the NBA for his “I Don’t wanna be here” tweet.
Here’s more from Fedor on Smith’s future with the Cavs:
Smith doesn’t understand many things going on around the organization, including Lue’s dismissal. But said he will be a professional.
“I just worry about what I can control, worry about being a good vet to these young guys who are playing,” Smith said. “Cheer for ’em, help ’em as much as they want me to help. I can’t take it personal against my teammates. Regardless of who’s out there, who’s not out there, I’m always going to be a good teammate to my teammates. Other than that, I’m buying time, I guess.”
According to a league source, trading Smith is “easier said than done.”
Smith was one of the last players to leave the Cavs’ shootaround today and said “it’s hard” to come to work with a positive attitude.
“Fortunately I to a great crew of people, former teammates, teammates, former coaches, lot of people in my ear that’s helped me to go through this process,” Smith told reporters. “But at the end of the day I can’t take it out on my teammates. Regardless how hard it is to walk in here and actually put on, as hard as it may sound, to put on a Cavs jersey or shirt. I can’t do that to my teammates. I can’t do that to the fans.”
Smith said the hardest part is that he is not getting a chance to compete anymore, which has led to his trade request.
“They know,” Smith said. “They don’t want me so they obviously know. Moves could’ve been made to prevent this situation, but of course we’re in this situation now, so, it is what it is.”
Overall, Smith has not played in three of the Cavs’ seven games to date.
Smith has played for four teams in his career, but has been traded three times in his career. The Cavs acquired him in 2015 and he became a key piece in their teams that reached four straight NBA Finals from 2015-18. He is a career 37.3 percent 3-point shooter and ranks 12th in NBA history with 1,917 3-pointers made.