Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith took a swipe at former teammate Kyrie Irving, who was traded to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection. During the Cavaliers’ media day, Smith was asked what Thomas and new acquisition Derrick Rose will bring to the table that Irving failed to do during his stint with the Cavaliers [VIDEO], the shooting guard responded: “they want to be here... that can help tremendously.” In July, Irving approached Cavaliers team owner Dan Gilbert and demanded a trade, mentioning that he wanted to be the No. 1 man, away from LeBron James’ shadow.

Last season, Smith was limited to just 41 games due to an injury, averaging 8.6 points and 2.8 boards a night. However, Smith might return to his old role as the sixth man with the acquisition of veteran Dwyane Wade, who recently signed a one-year deal worth $2.3 million after he got a buyout from the Chicago Bulls. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype reported that he opted to sign with the Cavaliers after he was guaranteed a starting spot, together with LeBron James, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Tristan Thompson.

Rose to start at point guard

Rose, the 2010-11 MVP during his time with the Chicago Bulls, will start at point guard for the Cavaliers until Thomas recovers from his hip injury, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Rose played for the New York Knicks last season before he signed a one-year deal worth $2.1 million with the Cavaliers.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue believes that the 28-year-old Rose could regain his old form and help the Cavaliers maintain their status as the team to beat in the East. Things were doing well for Rose until he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee that caused him to miss the rest of the season. In 64 games, Rose averaged 18.0 points and 4.4 dimes per game. For his career, Rose averaged 19.5 points and 6.0 assists in 470 career games.

Thomas expected to return in December

Vardon reported that Thomas “made real progress” in his rehab from a hip injury that caused him to miss the remaining three games of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals. Vardon said Thomas is now lifting weights and doing hip mobilization stretches and could return in December [VIDEO]. Aside from that, the 28-year-old Thomas can now use weightless treadmill and can shoot stationary shots on the court with no ill effects. Last season, Thomas had an MVP-like performance as he averaged 28.9 points and 5.9 assists for the Celtics.