JR Smith Says He Wanted to Ask Out of Cavaliers' Lineup Due to Struggles

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2018

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 09:  JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is defended by Isaiah Taylor #22 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on February 9, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

JR Smith was struggling so much earlier in the 2017-18 NBA season that he considered asking head coach Tyronn Lue to move him to the second unit.          

"There were times when I wanted to go to [Lue] and be like, 'Listen, man, I'm not playing well. Why not take me out?'" Smith told ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin. "Fortunately, I didn't and just stuck with it. I've known T-Lue since my rookie year. Our relationship is based on communication—how he communicates with me, how I communicate with him. He's been really consistent at that."

Smith's year has been a slog, to say the least. 

The 32-year-old, known primarily for his sharpshooting prowess, failed to find a rhythm through the first few months of the season. 

From October through January, he averaged 7.8 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting from the field, including 34.7 percent shooting from three. 

However, he has turned a corner of late. 

Through five games in February, the microwave scorer is averaging 13.2 points while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor. He's also canned 51.5 percent of his 33 attempts from beyond the arc. 

"It was, 'You know what? The hell with it. If I'm going to get traded, I'm just going to go out playing the way I know how to play,'" he told McMenamin. 

Smith was especially dialed in Sunday when he scored 15 points (6-of-7 shooting) in the Cavaliers' 121-99 romp over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. 

Suddenly hot, Smith will attempt to keep the buckets flowing Tuesday when the Cavaliers clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.     

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