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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

JR Smith ‘absolutely’ frustrated to lose Cavs’ starting job

JR Smith Indians

After three seasons as a starter for the most successful era of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball ever, guard J.R. Smith is being shifted to the bench to make room for Dwyane Wade — and he’s not thrilled about it.

Smith admitted Tuesday that he was “absolutely” frustrated to lose his starting spot to newcomer Wade, but that neither he nor fellow starter-turned-bench player Tristan Thompson planned to cause a ruckus in the locker room over it.

“We talked about it,” Smith told Joe Vardon of cleveland.com. “It wasn’t the most positive conversation, but we talked about it and we’ll get through it together.”

Smith said he “kind of knew it” was going to happen when Wade was signed, seemed particularly aggrieved that the spot was simply taken away from him and he was not given the chance to outplay Wade in preseason to try and keep it.

“Was working hard all summer and then coming in and not even really having a chance to earn my spot, but it’s alright,” Smith said. “It is what it is.”

Smith also said, however, that he prefers the second unit.

“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.

Wade may be the starter, but Smith will get his fair share of minutes — and probably a few starts when the veteran guard is rested.

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