Cavaliers parting with potential trade target J.R. Smith

LeBron James didn't want to trade Kyrie Irving

LeBron, Lakers hammer Heat

The J.R. Smith era is over in Cleveland.

James, meanwhile, will return to play against the organization he led to four straight NBA Finals and five total in his 11 seasons in Cleveland, including a championship in 2016 with good friend Smith starting in the backcourt.

Smith's contract is grandfathered in to a quirk in the collective bargaining agreement allowing for his full salary in the 2019-20 season to be counted in possible trades.

Smith is in his 15th season and making $14.7 million; he has no relationship with Cavs GM Koby Altman and doesn't want a buyout.

James recently told The Athletic - ahead of his first trip to Cleveland as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night - that the Cavaliers' decision to trade Irving to the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017 was the "beginning of the end".

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Love, who underwent surgery on his left foot earlier this month after a nagging left toe injury, was initially expecting to be reevaluated six weeks after his surgery - targeting his return for mid-December. Smith, who publicly accused the Cavaliers of tanking, has wanted out of Cleveland for some time.

JR Smith has been openly pushing for the Cleveland Cavaliers to give him an opportunity to play elsewhere, and the team has confirmed that they will do just that.

With Smith gone, the Cavaliers have just three players - Love, Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye - left from their title team. He seemed to endear himself further to many by remaining shirtless during the team's victory parade through the city's streets.

"I'll think about some of the good, I'll think about some of the bad, I'll think about some of the great that I had with the franchise". "And then once the tip ball gets going, it is time to go to work".

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