Tyronn Lue: J.R. Smith is the ‘Heart and Soul of the Team’

by September 22, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue says free agent guard J.R. Smith’s presence is missed by everyone in the organization.

Smith, according to Lue, is the defending NBA champion Cavs’ heart and soul.

Smith and Cleveland haven’t been to reach a deal as of yet, and the 31-year-old is sitting out voluntary workouts with his teammates in California.

Per the NEOMG:

“The biggest thing is we miss J.R. I mean, you can feel it,” Lue said in a phone interview from Santa Barbara, Calif., where all but two of Cleveland’s main players are working out and congregating at James’ invite ahead of the team’s official training camp — which starts in Independence on Monday. […] Smith is not with the team for its workouts at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Nor is Mo Williams, who announced on Twitter Wednesday night he would play one more season.


“J.R., he’s the heart and soul of team,” Lue said. “Usually when it’s anything involving the team, J.R. would be there and would be right in the middle of it. You’d hear him laughing or if it’s work, he’d be out there giving it his all. It’s hard.”


It’s believed the two sides are at odds over the length and value of a contract — he declined an option for more than $5 million this season and could make triple that amount in 2016-17, depending on the years in his new deal. […] “I always hope we can get something done sooner than later,” Lue said. “He’s our starting two guard, and when you look at what he’s brought to the team the last two years, it means a lot. He’s an outside shooter, obviously, and I believe he’s our best defender at guard position.”

WATCH: LeBron James Tells Cavs to Get J.R. Smith Deal ‘Done’