The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the 2017-18 NBA season with a veteran lineup as they attempted to make it to their fourth NBA Finals. However, the veteran lineup -- added to trading away their second best player in Kyrie Irving -- caused the Cavs to really slip this season. Cleveland has actually dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference behind the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, with just one week to go. The Cavs are not giving up though and just revealed that they will make some major changes to both their Starting Lineup and their player rotation when the NBA playoffs start next Saturday.

2 Veterans leaving the Cavaliers NBA playoff rotation

The biggest news heading into the 2018 NBA playoffs is that the Cleveland Cavaliers have chosen to remove two of their veteran stars from the game rotation. This is a huge shock because the names of these players are Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith -- two men who were big stars in the 2016 NBA Championship team.

J.R. Smith is no real surprise. He has struggled through the worst season of his NBA career this year with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even through all of his struggles, Smith stayed in the starting lineup but that all changed when he ended up suspended and Rodney Hood took over the starting job.

Now, Smith won't even play at all unless the Cavs need help from the end of their bench.

Smith has averaged 8.3 points and 2.9 rebounds a game.

The other player is a surprise. While Tristan Thompson struggled through most of the season, he turned things around defensively at the end of March with four double-digit rebound games in the last five of the month. However, his minutes per game since then has dropped to 14, 10 and finally six on Friday night.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have pretty much phased Thompson out of their rotation. His averages this season are 5.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. They also just signed a new big man to step up in his place.

A new starter for the NBA playoffs

The Cleveland Cavaliers have also made a switch at the forward position as well. Ty Lue said that the Cavs will have Jeff Green in the starting lineup for the rest of the season and into the playoffs at the four position.

Lue reasoned that Green in the lineup makes the team better. They are 7-3 this season when he starts.

With Green at the four position, he will lineup in the frontcourt with LeBron James and Kevin Love, while Larry Nance Jr. will come off the bench with Cedi Osman. The Cavaliers will also start Rodney Hood and are waiting to get George Hill back from injury.