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Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard JR Smith said Tuesday there was no conversation with Tyronn Lue about getting removed from the starting lineup, which is contrary to the head coach’s comments, and he wishes there could have been a discussion before the change was made.    

Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reported Lue said he had a “positive talk” with Smith before making the switch, but the veteran guard disagreed with that assessment following the Cavs’ 129-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena.

“We didn’t talk,” Smith told McMenamin. “He sent me a text [Monday], and I told him, ‘No problem.’ I didn’t know that it was a ‘talk.'”

He added: “That’s all right, though. I’m not upset about it. I just wish there would have been more dialogue, I guess.”

Lue opted to give sharpshooter Kyle Korver the starting nod against the Suns, and he responded with one of his best performances of the year. He knocked down five of his six three-point attempts en route to 22 points while also grabbing four rebounds.

Smith also had a solid performance off the bench with 14 points and five boards. He only played one fewer minute than Korver (23-22) despite the change in roles.

“It went all right, I guess,” Korver said, per ESPN.com. “I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t know if this is a one-game thing. I really have no idea. I told Ty I’m ready to do whatever he needs, just tell me before the game starts. So tonight, I think with Rodney [Hood] still out, just trying a couple new things, but I’m not making much of it.”

It’s the second time this season Smith has been relegated to the bench.

In October, he said on the Road Trippin’ podcast he was “hurt” by the decision to start Dwyane Wade over him during the early stages of the 2017-18 campaign, via McMenamin:

“Honestly, I was hurt, man. I was really emotionally drained at that point. I got wind of it that it was going to go down, but I didn’t know. I was told he’s going to be great for the second unit. … It would be a great fit for the team, whatever, whatever. I’m like, ‘Awesome, let’s do it. One hundred percent. Out of all people, another person we’re going to just grab for damn-near nothing? For sure. Let’s do it.'”

More lineup changes are likely on the horizon with the impending returns of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, who could both come back from injuries before month’s end.

Regardless of who’s available, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Lue continue tinkering with the lineup until something clicks after a roller-coaster regular season for Cleveland, which has dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference.



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