J.R. doesn't want to be around for a season of tanking.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are positioning themselves for another top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft as the rebuild post-LeBron is in full swing. Following Monday night's 113-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Cavs dropped to an NBA-worst 2-13 for the season which bodes well for their chances of landing a Top-3 pick.
However, not everyone is happy with "tanking" the 2018-19 season away, specifically veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith who recently reiterated that he hopes to be traded if the team's goal is to lose.
According to The Athletic's Jason Lloyd, Smith says, "I don't think the goal is to win. The goal isn't to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can. I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan." Asked if he wants to be part of the team moving forward, Smith said, "Not if the goal isn't to compete, to win."
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Smith, 33, is averaging a career-low 6.7 points per game in roughly 20 minutes of action per night, which is the least amount of court-time he has seen since the 2007-08 season. According to Lloyd, Smith says he has no relationship with Cavs GM Koby Altman, and that he prefers to be traded rather than accepting a buyout.
"I don't want my legacy to be remembered like that in Cleveland. I don't think that's fair to the people I see every single day walking around the arena. I don't think that's fair to the trainers or equipment guys. ... I just look at it differently than being traded. I don't like the statement of getting bought out."
The Cavs will host LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, marking James' first game against his former team as a member of the Lakers. That game, airing on ESPN, is scheduled to tipoff at 8pm ET.