The firing of Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue means that veterans such as Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith could be out of the team’s rotation. That’s because of what Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman recently told them.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) October 29, 2018
“Koby Altman sat down some of the veteran players including Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith over the last week, week and a half, and basically informed them they would not be in the rotation anymore,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania said. “I’m told these players got really emotional. Kyle Korver was especially incredibly emotional.”
Altman had told both players last week, but Lue continued to play them in an effort to jumpstart the winless Cavs. That defiance was seen as one of the chief reasons that Lue was dismissed in the third year of his five-year contract that pays him an average of $7 million per season.
The 37-year-old Korver is still a dangerous long-range threat and can contribute off the bench. He showed that he can still contribute by scoring 21 points in the Cavaliers’ loss last Thursday in Detroit. However, his diminished role is expected to make him a candidate to be traded before the February deadline.
In the case of the 33-year-old Smith, he was looking to bounce back from two subpar seasons with a strong campaign. The chances of him being dealt could be limited, given his recent performance and the $14.7 million he’s being paid this season. In addition, he’s scheduled to earn nearly $15.7 million next season, though only $3.87 million of that is guaranteed.
This latest version of the new-look Cavaliers begin their new era on Tuesday when they travel to face the Atlanta Hawks.