J.R. Smith wants out of Cleveland, according to J.R. Smith.
At Thursday’s shootaround before the Cavs host the Nuggets, Smith said that he wanted to be traded from the Cavaliers.
He also said that he was told by GM Koby Altman that he could leave the team if we wanted to.
“I can’t do that to these fans, I can’t do it to the city,” Smith said. “To come from where I came from, from pretty much nothing to Cleveland and the way the city embraced me, the fans embraced me, the relationship I have with them, I can’t do that to them. It’s not about me, it’s not about who wants me here and who doesn’t want me here, for me it’s all about the fans.”
Generally, Smith seems miserable and doesn’t seem to be interested in playing for a team that is rebuilding after he said he and his agent were told that the team wasn’t going to be rebuilding.
“There’s a lot of things that’s going on around here that I don’t know the answer to and I don’t know why it’s going on, but it is and I can’t control that,” he said.
Trading Smith, who is making $14.7 million this season, is likely a difficult player to trade because of his salary and his reputation around the league. Per The Athletic, Smith also won’t accept a buyout. So, unless that changes, the only ways this can get resolved are Smith changing his mind and going away from the team or if the Cavs can find a trading partner to take on Smith. Until then, it’s just awkward.
“It’s hard to be somewhere where you know they don’t want you there,” Smith said. “You gotta go in [the locker room] and put on this front and act like you’re so happy. Regardless, we all make a ton of money. That’s not what this is about. I can’t even be competitive anymore. For somebody in my shoes, that’s the hardest part.”
Smith also said that Tyronn Lue shouldn’t have been fired for playing him and Kyle Korver against the wishes of the front office and ownership.
“I had a conversation with [Lue] about it, too,” Smith said. “I told him I don’t want to put him in a position where he had to lose his job. This was before he got fired. He said the hell with it and did what he wanted to do and what he was comfortable with doing and I respect him for it. But at the same time I don’t think it should have cost him his job.”