JR Smith Rips Cavaliers Amid Trade Request: 'I Don't Think the Goal Is to Win'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 20, 2018

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 5: JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Orlando Magic on November 5, 2018 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
Fernando Medina/Getty Images

Veteran guard JR Smith reiterated his desire to be traded Monday amid the Cleveland Cavaliers' struggles this season.

According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Smith said he believes the Cavs are tanking: "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."

When asked if he wants to be part of the team moving forward, Smith said, "Not if the goal isn't to compete, to win."

Cleveland is an NBA-worst 2-13 after reaching the NBA Finals in each of the previous four campaigns.

Earlier this month, Smith publicly requested a trade, saying, "They [Cavs] don't want me here," per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.

He had been removed from Cleveland's rotation at the time, although he has played more recently with several players injured.

On Monday, Smith told Lloyd he has no relationship with Cavs general manager KobyAltman. He also said he won't accept a buyout and prefers to be traded:

"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 33-year-old has spent the past four-plus seasons in Cleveland following a trade from the New York Knicks. He was part of all four of the Cavs' recent NBA Finals teams, including their championship-winning squad in 2016.

While Smith has been a key offensive contributor and veteran leader both as a starter and off the bench, his role has diminished significantly this season. He is averaging just 20.2 minutes per game, his lowest figure since 2007-08, and his 6.7 points per game are a career low.

Smith may have some value on the trade market. Though he's past his prime, he's fifth among active players and 11th in NBA history with 1,929 career three-pointers made and only has a partially guaranteed $3.87 million contract next season.


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