Cleveland guard JR Smith has said he would like to be traded from a Cavaliers team that appears determined not to use him, an admission that could see him fined by the NBA.
Discussing his dissatisfaction with his playing time this season, Smith was asked if he wanted to be traded.
“Yeah,” he said, adding that the club were aware of his desire. “They know. They don’t want me here, so they obviously know.”
The NBA collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow players to make public trade requests and ESPN reported the league was already looking into Smith’s comments.
Last year, former Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe was fined $10,000 for a tweet saying: “I don’t wanna be here”.
Smith, who has not played at all in three of Cleveland’s seven games this season and seen sharply reduced minutes in the other four, said it was not just the lack of playing time, but a lack of communication about it, that bothered him.
“I don’t mind taking a back seat or sitting down or if you don’t want me to play — I don’t mind that,” he said. “But at least communicate that to me … you can’t even look me in my face and tell me, that’s disrespectful to me.”
Smith also said management’s suggestion that he step away from the team was unacceptable.
“They asked me if I wanted to be around the team and if I didn’t I could leave and go home and do whatever,” Smith said. “I can’t do that to these fans, I can’t do it to the city.
“To come from where I came from, from pretty much nothing to Cleveland and the way the city embraced me, the fans embraced me, the relationship I have with them, I can’t do that to them.”
The Cavs, who lost superstar LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency this season, are currently without All-Star forward Kevin Love because of injury and sacked coach Tyronn Lue after their 0-6 start to the season.
They got their first win on Tuesday against the Atlanta Hawks.
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