JR Smith will no longer be with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team confirmed Tuesday.
The 33-year-old veteran playing in his 15th season, who is making $14.7 million this season, still has two more years left on his contract. The team said they are working with Smith and his representation regarding his future.
The organization released the following statement:
The organization wishes JR and his family well and appreciates and thanks him for his contributions in the community, to the team and his role in the 2016 NBA Championship.
Earlier this month, Smith was downright honest when asked if he wanted a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers after the team informed him that for the second time this season, he would be removed from the rotation and not receive any guaranteed playing time.
His response? "Yeah. They know. They don't want me here, so they obviously know," ESPN reported.
Since LeBron James left, the Cavs signed Kevin Love to a $120 million extension contract, but playing time for veterans—between Love sitting out for a toe injury and Smith removed from the rotation—have been given to young players on the team.
Smith’s unhappiness had created another distraction in a stormy season for Cleveland, which is a league-worst 2-13 and has been blown out numerous times.
The Cavaliers fired coach Tyronn Lue last month following a 0-6 start, and the team has been riddled with injuries.
Smith’s departure comes a day before James makes his return to Cleveland for the first time with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Smith came to the Cavaliers in a trade from the New York Knicks in 2015. While his play has been inconsistent, he was a major contributor on Cleveland’s 2016 championship team. He made two 3-pointers early in the second half of Game 7 as the Cavaliers rallied to win and become the first team in league history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
With Smith gone, the Cavaliers have just three players — Love, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye — left from their title team.
Before the Cavs won the championship, Smith already had become a favorite with Cleveland fans. He seemed to endear himself further to many by remaining shirtless during the team’s victory parade through the city’s streets.
Smith is averaging a career-low 6.7 points this season. He has averaged 10.3 points in 255 games with Cleveland over the past five seasons.
During his time in Cleveland, Smith has had some infamous moments, including being suspended for allegedly throwing soup at an assistant coach, to his blunder in Game 1 of the NBA Finals that became a meme and made national headlines.