The slumping Cleveland Cavaliers shook up their roster just prior to tipping off their latest game, acquiring guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks as part of a three-team, six-player trade that also involved the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Cavaliers sent sixth man Dion Waiters to the Thunder in the deal, while shipping rookie center Alex Kirk and forward Lou Amundson to the Knicks. New York also received forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City, with Cleveland obtaining the Thunder's protected 2015 first-round pick as well.
In addition, the Cavs sent a 2019 second-round pick to New York, which waived veteran center Samuel Dalembert to make room for the newcomers.
Smith, the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, will replace Waiters as Cleveland's top option off the bench after the latter struggled in that role during this season. After averaging a career-best 15.9 points and shooting 36.8 percent from 3-point range in 2013-14, Waiters has seen those numbers dip to 10.5 points per game and a 25.6 percent mark from beyond the arc during this campaign.
The No. 4 overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft could move into a starting role in Oklahoma City, where Andre Roberson has averaged just 4.2 points as the Thunder's opening shooting guard.
Waiters had been announced as a starter for the Cavaliers' game in Philadelphia on Monday, but was removed from the lineup shortly before the game began. Cleveland went on to lose to the 76ers, the club's fifth in six games.
Smith is also in the midst of a down season, with his current 10.9 points-per- game scoring average his lowest mark since 2005-06. The 11-year-veteran has averaged 13.3 points in 716 career games and has made at least 100 3-pointers in seven of the past eight seasons.
Shumpert is known primarily for being a strong defender, but the 24-year-old was averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 24 games before dislocating his shoulder on Dec. 12.
None of the three players figure to be major contributors for the rebuilding Knicks, who currently sport a league-worst 5-32 record and are attempting to clear cap space to make an offseason splash in free agency.
Dalembert, acquired by New York in a trade with Dallas this past summer, had fallen out of the Knicks' rotation as of late. The 33-year-old averaged 4.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 32 games this season.