J.R. Smith

Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Monroe, Crowder, Smith

The Cavaliers should offer Tristan Thompson to the Suns for Greg Monroe, suggests Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. Amico reported last night that Cleveland is interested in Monroe, who was traded from Milwaukee to Phoenix this week and apparently has no long-term future with the Suns. The 27-year-old has averaged 14.0 points and 8.7 rebounds throughout his career, but fell out of the rotation in Milwaukee and has appeared in just five games this season.

Their salaries are similar, with Monroe making $17.8MM this year compared to Thompson’s $16.4MM, but Monroe has an expiring contract while Thompson is owed more than $36MM over the next two seasons. Acquiring Monroe would provide immediate help as Thompson is out for the next few weeks with a strained calf. Amico also notes that Thompson’s romantic involvement with actress Khloe Kardashian could bring an unwanted distraction to the Cavs’ locker room.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • Jae Crowder had a lot of adjustments to make during his first few weeks in Cleveland, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. One of the key pieces in the Kyrie Irving trade, Crowder has seen his role change several times in 13 games, starting at small forward and power forward and coming off the bench at both positions. Teammates have noticed how well Crowder has been able to handle all the different roles being thrown at him. “He’s such a huge X factor for us and can do so many things, it’s just tough because we’ve been asking him to play the 4, play the 3, guard the other team’s best player, score the basketball,” said Kevin Love. “He just has to find a way to go out there and play and compete because tonight that’s what he did and he was great for us.”
  • J.R. Smith seems comfortable in the starting lineup again, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Smith started the season in a reserve role after the signing of Dwyane Wade, but was reinserted as a starter after Wade asked to come off the bench. Smith struggled with his shot throughout October, but has strung together three straight games in double figures. “I’m shooting the same shots, it’s just, they’re starting to fall,” Smith said. “For whatever reason it is, just happened earlier. Being aggressive earlier, trying to put the ball on the floor, get to the basket. Trying to get to the free-throw line. Just trying to be more aggressive, as opposed to waiting for it to come to me.”
  • Kyle Korver, who re-signed with the Cavs for $22MM over three years, is providing more than just his play on the court, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He is also serving as a shooting coach, helping Crowder and others with their mechanics.

Central Notes: George, Pistons, Oladipo

While Pacers fans didn’t get a revenge win over Paul George‘s Thunder, they did gain some insight into the All-Star’s decision to force his way out of Indiana. Scott Horner of The Indianapolis Star curated a handful of interviews that George has given since his departure.

In one media scrum, George mentions that he felt that the team’s window to contend had closed and that a rebuild was forthcoming. That may not exactly qualify as a hot take but it narrows down the swingman’s motivations for seeking an opportunity elsewhere. That said, the Lakers – the team George was initially said to be interested in – haven’t won more than 30 games since 2012/13.

In other interviews, George seems to question the promotional strategy the Pacers’ have used regarding his pending return to Indiana in December, while also throwing shade at the team for how they traded Danny Granger to the Sixers back in 2014.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are going to need plenty more out of their shooting guards, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. So far this season, free agent acquisition Dwyane Wade has struggled to find a rhythm while J.R. Smith has gone ice cold from the field.
  • Not married to any particular rotation, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy intends to use the two-day period between Detroit’s victory over the Timberwolves and their contest with the Clippers on Saturday to re-evaluate the club’s lineups. Keith Langlois of the team’s official site writes that a number of players could be utilized differently in the frontcourt.
  • The Pacers have been more than satisfied with what they’ve gotten out of Victor Oladipo so far this season, Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star writes. “I like his pace,” head coach Nate McMillan said after the team’s loss to Paul George‘s Thunder. “He’s doing a good job of not forcing the issue. His shot selection has been better. He’s knocking down shots and in a pretty good rhythm, and we try to go to him as much as possible, because he was the one guy with the hot hand. He’s just playing with a nice pace.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Pistons, Smith

The Bulls finally embraced a rebuild this offseason so there will be no shortage of attention paid to how they manage each and every asset from this point forward. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the club will be particularly patient with injuries to key young players considering that now more than ever the club can afford to lose ball games.

Between the lingering effects of Zach LaVine‘s 2016/17 ACL injury and preseason setbacks to both Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn, the new look Bulls are awfully banged up ahead of the 2017 season opener and may not even see the court together until as late as December.

I think it’s just about being patient,” Dunn, acquired in the trade that sent Jimmy Butler from the Bulls to Minnesota, said. “Lauri, he was in Finland, so there was a lot of strain on his back from all the games they played [in the EuroBasket tournament]. Zach, with his injury, you try to take it slow with him because he’s a big piece to this team. And me, I’m just slowly trying to get back. So it’s just a slow thing.

To that effect, Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg has said that his starting lineup when the season begins on Tuesday will consist of Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Nikola Mirotic, Paul Zipser and Robin Lopez.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • When Derrick Rose signed a minimum contract with the Cavaliers, he did so as a bet on himself. “I get a chance to reintroduce myself back to the league. I get to bet on myself. That was one of the reasons I came here, I get to bet on myself. And I’m from Chicago, I’ve got that hustling side; it’s in me, man,” he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
  • While Pistons projects Luke Kennard and Henry Ellenson figure to make an impact on the team eventually, they’ll have to beat out defensive-minded veterans Reggie Bullock and Anthony Tolliver for minutes, Keith Langlois of the team’s official site writes. Both Tolliver and Bullock provide plenty of intangible skill that make life easier for the second unit.
  • The announcement that Dwyane Wade would be the Cavaliers‘ starting shooting guard didn’t go over well with J.R. Smith. “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.

Cavs Notes: Wade, J.R. Smith, Frye, Shumpert

Newest Cavalier Dwyane Wade will open the 2017/18 season in the team’s starting lineup, head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed today. As Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com details, J.R. Smith will come off the bench with Wade taking over as the starting shooting guard, and Lue said today that Smith handled the news well.

“He was fine,” Lue said. “It’s tough, you’ve been in position where you went to three straight Finals and you’ve been the starting two guard. But like I said, it’s about sacrifice if you want to win. J.R. was great about it. Just knows he has to have a different role right now so we’ll see how it works.”

Although Derrick Rose will join Wade in the starting lineup, Lue said today that Rose will head to the bench early in games and then return to run the second-team offense. In that scenario, the former MVP would likely lead a lineup that features Smith, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Green, though we’ll see what adjustments the team makes when the season officially gets underway.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • One player who likely won’t see many minutes in the Cavs’ rotation – barring injuries – is Channing Frye, Vardon writes in a separate piece. Lue told Frye that he probably won’t play a whole lot this season, and the head coach said the veteran forward responded admirably. “That’s the type of vet you want around,” Lue said. “Unbelievable character guy. He understands it’s a long season. There’s going to be opportunities.”
  • Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net hears that the Cavs already know which player with a guaranteed salary they’ll waive, assuming they can’t trade anyone. The Cavs haven’t identified that player, of course, but Richard Jefferson has been the candidate mentioned most frequently. Cleveland’s initial cuts may begin on Tuesday, Amico adds.
  • According to Amico, the Cavaliers continue to explore possible trades involving Iman Shumpert, but they’ve had trouble finding a taker all offseason, and Shumpert’s foot injury isn’t helping matters.
  • We rounded up a few Cavs notes on Sunday as well, including news on Isaiah Thomas‘ change in representation.

Central Notes: James, Smith, LaVine, Bulls

LeBron James future in Cleveland is unclear beyond the upcoming season but he said to reporters during Monday’s media day that his stated intentions to finish his career with the Cavs haven’t changed, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.

James said he will honor his current deal with the Cavaliers as he attempts to reach the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive season. James will field questions about his future for the rest of the season but he said that he will handle his fourth free agency next summer.

“And if you guys know me, I don’t know if you know me as much, but I’ve always handled it in the most businesslike way,” James said. “And I will do that with my team, and we’ll handle that in the summertime, as we always have.”

The Cavaliers enter 2017/18 with a restructured roster that no longer has Kyrie Irving but does feature recently signed Dwyane Wade, former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, and last season’s Eastern Conference scoring leader Isaiah ThomasBarring a collapse the Cavaliers are favorites to return to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight season.

Read up on other news surrounding the Central Division:

Central Notes: Bulls, Smith, Johnson

The Bulls have fully embraced a rebuild and it’s centered around Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman declared as much at media day, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.

We’re in a position now where we have supportive ownership, we’ve defined our direction and we’re looking forward,” Paxson said. “That’s all Gar and I can do every day.

The three players mentioned were all acquired a draft day deal between the Bulls and Timberwolves that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. The change of course to embrace a rebuild came after a season of trade rumors and speculation that the organization should dismantle its core (among other things).

I do think we can win our fans’ trust back by showing them we can put a group of young players out there who care and show them there’s promise ahead,” Paxson said.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • For now at least, J.R. Smith is the starting shooting guard on the Cavaliers, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes. “I’m not going to sit here and get into a ‘blank’ measuring contest with Dwyane Wade,” Smith said. “I’m not going to win that. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to continue to work hard for our team and however they choose to do it, that’s who it’s going to be.”
  • Citing mental maturation and a commitment to improving, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy is optimistic about third-year forward Stanley Johnson‘s progress, Keith Langlois of the team’s official site writes. Van Gundy also praised rookie Luke Kennard‘s performance at training camp thus far.
  • There’s a case to be made for Cavaliers forward LeBron James winning the MVP this season. Brian Windhorst of ESPN writes that the 15-year veteran is coming off one of the best offseasons he’s had since he came into the league.


Trade Rumors: Butler, Rubio, Cavaliers

Jimmy Butler continues to be very much in demand, according to a post from Ian Begley on ESPN Now. Executives from other teams believe the Timberwolves are offering the seventh pick in tonight’s draft as part of a package to get the Bulls to re-open trade talks. Minnesota coach/executive Tom Thibodeau coached Butler in Chicago and is eager for a reunion. The Cavaliers made an unsuccessful offer for Butler, and sources relayed to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Butler’s preference is to stay with the Bulls. The Timberwolves are also talking to the Pacers about Paul George, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets.

There are more trade rumors as the draft draws nearer:

  • The Wolves are once again trying to find takers for Ricky Rubio, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Earlier reports identified the Mavericks and Knicks as teams that might have interest in the sixth-year point guard, who still has two seasons and more than $29MM left on his contract.
  • The Cavaliers are in a “holding pattern” as they await progress on several proposed trades, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops (Twitter link). Cleveland’s problem is a shortage of tradable assets and what insiders are describing as a “flooded market” (Twitter link).
  • Cleveland is finding that no one wants to take on the hefty contracts of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson, Amico adds (Twitter link). Shumpert has two years left on his deal at a combined $21.3MM. Smith re-signed last summer and is owed more than $44MM over the next three seasons. Thompson has three years remaining at more than $52.4MM.

J.R. Smith: Carmelo Anthony’s Treatment ‘Unfair And Unjust’

With Knicks president Phil Jackson stating his preference for Carmelo Anthony to leave New York, the 1o-time All-Star has received support from Knicks legends, former and current teammates, and the NBPA. Anthony’s former Knicks teammate and current Cavaliers sharpshooter, J.R. Smith, can be added to the list of supporters.

Smith teamed with Anthony for parts of three seasons before he was traded to Cleveland along with Iman Shumpert in 2014. Speaking at a media session before Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, Smith told Newsday’s Greg Logan that Anthony’s treatment has been poor.

“I haven’t spoken to [Anthony] on the topic, but I’m sure he does feel some type of way about how he’s being treated,” Smith said. “It’s really unfair and unjust. But I’m not on that team and I’m not in that situation, so I really don’t want to speak too much on it. I’ve got bigger things going on in the NBA Finals. But I hope for the best for him. Melo is a very tough guy, and he’ll figure it out.”

Anthony, who just turned 33 years old, averaged 22.4 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 74 games during the regular season as the Knicks posted a losing record and missed the playoffs a fourth straight season. Jackson initially stated his preference for Anthony to waive his no-trade clause at a press conference in mid-April.

“We’ve not been able to win with [Anthony] on the court at this time,” Jackson said. “I think the direction with our team is that he’s a player that would be better off somewhere else and using his talent somewhere where he can win or chase that championship.”

Anthony has not publicly commented on his intentions as the offseason approaches but the veteran will be a key player to watch as a trade candidate this summer.

Shumpert, Smith: Carmelo Wants To Stay In New York

Trading Carmelo Anthony out of New York may not be as easy as team president Phil Jackson is hoping, writes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News.

Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, two of Anthony’s friends and former teammates, believe he wants to remain with the Knicks and will use his no-trade clause to veto any deal.

“Sometimes you feel like it’s just unfinished business, and I feel like that’s what it is with Melo,” Shumpert said, referring to the Knicks’ 31-51 season. “He don’t want to leave on that note.”

Smith noted how hard Anthony worked to get to New York, forcing the Nuggets’ hands in a 2011 deal so he could be part of the league’s biggest market.

“He does want to stay in New York. He made the effort to get to New York,” Smith said. “Granted, it hasn’t gone as well as he hoped it would. But I’m sure that’s where he wants to be.”

Anthony will make more than $26.2MM next season and has an early termination option for his nearly $28MM salary in 2018/19. Jackson would like to get those figures off the Knicks’ salary cap, and contacted the Clippers, Cavaliers and Celtics before February’s deadline in an attempt to work out a trade.

Any team that does deal for Anthony would have to absorb his 15% trade kicker, which would bring his total cap hit to about $30MM.Anthony hasn’t made any public appearances since the season ended, Bondy notes, apart from a single workout session. He has also stopped posting on social media since mid-April.

While Anthony has chosen silence, Jackson has remained persistent about his desire to find a taker for his star. He began with a postseason press conference in which he stated that Anthony would be “better off somewhere else,” then repeated those sentiments to the media at the draft combine.

“I don’t think [Jackson] should’ve been so vocal about [wanting to trade Anthony],” Shumpert said. “That’s just me. I think a lot of stuff is better if everybody just assumes what’s going on and they don’t really know what’s going on. I didn’t like that it was publicized, but what am I going to do? He said some stuff about me too.

“I know it’s not going to bother Melo’s jumpshot next season. Melo is going to continue to work and get better, and continue to try to win. That’s all he can do.”

Cavalier Notes: Jones, Irving, LeBron

Discontent marinates within the Cavaliers‘ locker room and veteran James Jones recently spoke to the team to try to sort out the issues, sources tell Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. After the team’s loss to the Spurs, Jones rhetorically asked players what they wanted out of the season. Vardon adds that neither Kyrie Irving nor LeBron James addressed the team, but a source told the scribe that the losing and travel have “frayed nerves.”

Cleveland owns a record of 6-9 during the month of March and the team has the eighth worst Plus/Minus over that stretch, as I recently mentioned.

Here’s more from The Land:

  • Irving holds himself accountable for the Cavaliers‘ struggles, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com writes. “I had to face it, had to face the music,” Irving said of his performance against the Spurs earlier in the week. “I think we all had to do it. But me more importantly, I had to look in the mirror and just wasn’t doing enough. I need to demand more out of myself and do it at a high level.”
  • Irving and James had an extended and emotional conversation after the Spurs loss, Shelburne adds in the same piece. Irving declines to comment on the nature of the meeting, calling it “private.”
  • Irving believes getting J.R. Smith and Kevin Love back up to speed has been problematic, but the Olympian said it’s his job to help them, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays. “I have to do my best as a point guard to integrate J.R. and K-Love and get our starting five back to having the continuity,” Irving said. “It hasn’t been perfect, to say the least. There’s definitely been some ups and downs and disagreements. But as adults and professionals we just have to figure it out.”
  • The Cavaliers have nine games left in the season, including tonight’s tilt with the Bulls, and coach Tyronn Lue feels it’s enough time to right the ship, Fedor adds in the same piece. “I feel like we can get it right,” Lue said. “We’re right anyway. We’re still right there.
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