JR Smith publicly calls out Cavs for tanking
JR Smith admitted a few weeks ago that he would prefer for the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him, but that probably won’t bother the team nearly as much as what he said on Monday.
In an interview with Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Smith reiterated that he has no interest in remaining with the Cavs. The main reason for that, he says, is that the team is committed to tanking this season.
“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,” Smith said. “I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”
Smith certainly isn’t the first one to accuse the Cavs of tanking, but he is the only member of the team to speak publicly about it. At age 33, Smith says he has no interest in playing for a franchise that has different priorities from his.
“Not if the goal isn’t to compete, to win,” he said.
Lloyd goes on to note that executives around the NBA “shook their heads in disbelief all summer” at the idea that the Cavs could possibly compete in the Eastern Conference without LeBron James. That’s not a surprise, as one player from a rival team even trolled them over it.
Smith is owed $14 million this season and $15 million next, so he will be extremely difficult to trade. However, he said he doesn’t want his “legacy” in Cleveland to end with a buyout, so it’s unclear what possible resolution — if any — the two sides could come to.