Three games into the 2017-18 NBA season the Cavaliers are reportedly pulling the plug on the whole starting 35-year-old free agent acquisition Dwyane Wade at SG experiment. That means J.R. Smith will once again begin games on the floor, like he's done for Cleveland for a good chunk of the past three years. Those decisions were relayed to the media on Monday by coach Tyronn Lue, who said that the 15-year NBA veteran Wade actually approached him about switching to a reserve role.
Wade, who will become a regular backup for the first time in his career, also explained his decision on Monday. "I just decided, earlier than later, just to get to the unit where I'd be more comfortable in and can probably be better with this team in that lineup," he said. "Why wait? Three games in, why wait? Wanted to get in there with those guys."
Thus far this season, Wade has shot just 28 percent from the field while averaging 5.7 points per night. Yes, we're aware that's a small sample size. Furthermore, following Cleveland's 21-point loss to Orlando this past Saturday (a game in which he scored just five points) Wade admitted that he was struggling to find his role on the squad he joined after his contract with the rebuilding Bulls was bought out.
"I'm trying to find it, man," he said on Saturday evening, according to ESPN. "It's very different, different than I've ever played. Just trying to find my way, as we go on, see how I can be best for this team. Everything's happened so fast. This has been a long, a long week."
He further said that this biggest adjustment this season has been "My option," before adding "I've always been a [No.] 1 or 2 option. It's just a different game. You got to kind of figure out your way."
As for J.R. Smith, he's undoubtedly pleased with this news. Besides the obvious (duh, he's starting again) Smith said just a little over a week ago that he was "hurt" by the team's decision to bench him for Wade, whom he says he was told he would start over.
"Honestly, I was hurt, man," Smith said about being benched to make way for the future Hall of Famer. "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.’
“‘Well, we got to start him.’ ‘Wait, what? Now we’re talking about two totally different things. Wait a minute.'” Oh well, at least it was short lived.
Lue later added, unsurprisingly, that the change would be permanent.