Disgruntled Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith says he would like to be traded from the organization.
“They know,” Smith told reporters at a team shootaround on Thursday. “They don’t want me here, so they obviously know.”
Smith is frustrated that the organization has cut back his playing time. On Tuesday, he was informed that he would no longer be part of the rotation.
Smith was upset and considered taking a leave of absence but decided to stick it out for now.
According to cleveland.com, general manager Koby Altman approached Smith to speak about his poor body language and how his attitude could affect the team and told Smith it would be better for him to go home if he was going to sulk.
“I can’t do that to these fans, I can’t do it to the city,” Smith said of leaving the team. “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.”
When a reporter asked Smith if he was hoping for a trade, he responded, “Yeah.”
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA will examine if Smith’s response constitutes a public trade request, which would expose him to a fine under the collective bargaining agreement. In November 2017, then-Phoenix guard Eric Bledsoe was fined $10,000 after tweeting, “I don’t wanna be here.”
Smith, 33, is averaging 2.5 points while playing in four of seven games for the Cavaliers (1-6). He didn’t see any action in Tuesday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks and has played just 48 minutes, making 3 of 13 shots.
The firing of coach Tyronn Lue — who played Smith 18 and 20 minutes on consecutive nights last week despite the objections of the front office — likely means the reduction in his playing time will not be changing.
Smith is making $14.72 million this season and is due $15.68 million next season. Only $3.87 million of the 2019-20 contract is guaranteed.
Cleveland hosts the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
–Field Level Media