INDEPENDENCE (92.3 the Fan) – JR Smith’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup may not be Tuesday night after all.
Smith attended but did not participate in Tuesday morning’s shootaround because of an ailing back, which kept him out of the closing minutes of the team’s opening night win over Boston. If Smith can not play, though the team believes he will,Turkish rookie Cedi Osman would make his first career start according to Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
With Dwyane Wade set to come off of the bench, Smith was thrust back into his starting role after starting the final 30 games of the 2016-17 regular season and playoffs.
Smith had been relegated to the bench with Wade’s signing, but the latter had struggled in his three starts with his new team before approaching Head Coach Tyronn Lue about making a move to the bench. The sharpshooting Smith said he thinks the new alignment is a better fit.
“They looked good on paper, but I just think our spacing wasn’t where it needed to be, especially for guys like (LeBron James) and (Derrick Rose),” he said. “It can go either way, but for us, we pretty much pride ourselves on spacing the court and letting those guys get downhill. So, it looked good, but it just didn’t fit.”