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J.R. Smith.

J.R. Smith claims he was demoted to the bench via a text from Tyronn Lue

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J.R. Smith has had a rocky season for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has endured problems both on and off the court.

His production has been poor with averages of just 8.4 points, 1.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game this year.

He's shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from three-point range.

The Cavs have had a miserable year as a whole but Smith has been one of their worst performers and was maybe lucky to survive the exodus at the trade deadline when they offloaded six players.

As well as his struggles on the floor, the veteran was recently suspended for one game by the Cavaliers for "conduct detrimental to the team".

Reports indicated that he threw a bowl of soup at assistant coach Damon Jones.

To compound his horrible couple of weeks and campaign, head coach Tyronn Lue has decided to demote him to the bench for the second time this season.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks

The 32-year-old initially began the year as a reserve as Dwyane Wade was given the starting nod over him.

But after a short slump, Wade opted to move to the second unit and Lue re-inserted Smith as a starter.

At that time, the Cavs coach explained his decision to the shooting guard but, apparently, that wasn't the case prior to Tuesday night's encounter with the Phoenix Suns.

Lue claimed that he had spoken to Smith about his choice but that was refuted by the three-point shooter.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyle Korver was given the start and after the game, Smith revealed that he discovered the news via a message from his coach.

"We didn't talk," Smith told ESPN. "He sent me a text [Monday], and I told him, 'No problem.' I didn't know that it was a 'talk.'"

The 14th year guard admitted he was surprised by the change but wasn't too disappointed with it.

"That's all right, though," Smith said. "I'm not upset about it. I just wish there would have been more dialogue, I guess."

Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks

Lue's alteration seemed to work to perfection as Korver posted 22 points, going 5-of-6 from three-point range.

Smith also played his part as he reacted positively to his benching with 14 points in 22 minutes to help the Cavs snap a two-game losing streak with a 129-107 win in Phoenix.

Coach Lue confirmed that Rodney Hood will replace Korver in the starting lineup when he recovers from his back injury, which will mean that J.R. will have a period on the bench moving forward.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics

When asked what his role will be now, Smith said: "Honestly, I don't know. I don't know.

"But I think it's good for the first unit though because we actually get to have someone out there we're going to run stuff for and who is a threat, as opposed to having somebody who is not an option."

With new additions such as Hood, Jordan Clarkson, George Hill and Larry Nance Jr. still getting adjusted, it's no surprise that Lue has chosen to shake things up.

With the likes of Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson due back in the coming weeks, we should expect more lineup changes to come.

Listen HERE to the first episode of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring former Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin.

Enjoy, and please subscribe for all future episodes.

Topics:
NBA
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
JR Smith
Kevin Love

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