Veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith thinks that the Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2018-19 season with the intention to tank, despite claims from the coaching staff and front office that they were going to stay competitive.
"The organization wishes JR and his family well and appreciates and thanks him for his contributions in the community, to the team and his role in the 2016 NBA Championship", the Cavaliers said in a statement.
And the 33-year-old's trade request still stands.
Smith's departure is the latest upheaval in a stormy season for Cleveland, which is league-worst 2-13.
Vardon describes the call James had with Altman on August 22, 2017, when the then-Cavs superstar was told by his GM that the Irving deal that Cleveland was discussing with the Celtics would not come to fruition. But he told The Athletic on Monday that he would not accept a buyout, which would be contingent on him giving him back a few million dollars of what's left on his contract.
"I think it recalibrated before Game 1 was even played", Hill said. I don't think that's fair to the trainers or equipment guys. "The goal isn't to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can", Smith said. "I don't like the statement of getting bought out".
Smith's fifth season in Cleveland is off to a rocky start as he has gone from coming off the bench, to being taken out of the rotation for the sake of playing younger players, to starting, to playing just less than six minutes in Monday's loss to the Pistons. This was always the plan.
If Smith does not want to cost himself money, that would be an understandable position, but the idea he is protecting his Cleveland legacy seems far-fetched.