Advertisements
Advertisements

#Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard #J.R. Smith expressed frustration about losing his starting role to fellow veteran [VIDEO]#Dwyane Wade, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue recently announced that Wade will start at shooting guard when they take on the Boston Celtics in their Oct. 17 season-opener at home. Vardon reported that Smith was disappointed that he was not given a chance to defend his starting spot, saying he prepared himself during the summer for the role. The veteran shooting guard said he already anticipated a role off the bench when the Cavaliers signed Wade on September 27 after getting a buyout from the Chicago Bulls.

Advertisements

Now that a decision has been reached, Smith said he's ready to move on and focus on his new role off the bench.

Smith not new to a reserve role

Smith averaged just 8.6 points per game last season after missing 41 games due to injury. Smith, who signed a four-year deal worth $57 million, started at shooting guard for the Cavs in the past three seasons but he played off the bench early in his NBA career with the then-New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, and the New York Knicks. During the 2012-13 season, the 6-foot-6 Smith averaged 18.1 points per game for the Knicks en route to the NBA Sixth Man of Year Award.

Smith likes playing with second unit

Smith took a positive out of his demotion, saying he likes being part of the Cavaliers’ second unit as he can show his playmaking and ball distribution skills and not pick his spot in the corner.

Advertisements

For now, Derrick Rose and Wade will start in the backcourt for the Cavaliers, while Smith will do the ball-handling chores for the second unit. Rose will return to his backup role when Isaiah Thomas returns from injury. Aside from Rose and Wade, Jae Crowder will start at power forward, Kevin Love at center, and LeBron James as small forward. Love's move to the center spot relegated former starter Tristan Thompson to the bench [VIDEO]. Smith and Thompson were both starters in the past three seasons for the Cavaliers.

In 880 career games, Smith averaged 12.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists and made 37 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. In 60 games with the Bulls last season, Wade averaged 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per outing. Wade exercised the $23.8 million option in his contract with the Bulls but he decided to seek a buyout when the team went into a rebuilding mode after trading superstar Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves.