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J.R. Smith Was Reportedly ‘Absolutely’ Frustrated To Lose His Starting Spot To Dwyane Wade
Many around the Cleveland Cavaliers are absolutely ecstatic about having Dwyane Wade on the team playing alongside LeBron James again. J.R. Smith is not one of those people. Not because he has a personal issue with Wade, but because he took his starting role and made him a bench player.
Smith told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that he is “absolutely” frustrated that he not only lost his role to the 35-year-old, but he never had a say in the matter, nor was he given the opportunity to win the starting job with his play on the court.
“We talked about it,” Smith said. “It wasn’t the most positive conversation, but we talked about it and we’ll get through it together. …
“Was working hard all summer and then coming in and not even really having a chance to earn my spot, but it’s all right. It is what it is.”
Like most decisions centered around the Cavs, it wasn’t head coach Tyronn Lue who broke the news to Smith. Rather, it was LeBron who informed him weeks prior that if Wade somehow made his way off the Chicago Bulls roster and joined the Cavs, he’d be taking Smith’s starting job.
Smith told Vardon he “kind of knew it” and James said he’d given Smith the news “way before,” which suggested that Lue was going to make the switch.
Despite being frustrated, the former sixth man of the year found a silver lining.
“I actually like playing on the second unit better, I’m more of a playmaker and distributor and I handle the ball a little bit more instead of just running to the corner,” Smith said.