The Cavaliers played J.R. Smith then told him they were benching him to go young then sat him for one game then put him back in the rotation then fired Tyronn Lue then promoted Larry Drew then sat Smith again.
For the second time this season, Smith was informed he would be removed from the rotation and not receive guaranteed playing time, sources said. Smith was upset by the news and considered taking some time away from the team, sources said. Smith decided to stay for the time being
Unlike Kyle Korver, Smith has negative trade value. The 33-year-old is guaranteed $18.59 million on a contract that will surely end after this season. Cleveland’s best course is probably keeping him on the chance his contract is useful in a trade then waiving him in the offseason if no deal emerges.
But Smith still doesn’t deserve getting jerked around like this. No player does. These mixed messages must be incredibly frustrating.
Smith doesn’t necessarily deserve playing time. If the Cavs want to go young, he definitely doesn’t fit. If they want to win now, he still probably doesn’t fit.
Leaving the team would be extreme on his part, but I don’t blame him for being aggravated with the Cavaliers’ directionless.