Quenton S. Albertie Related Topics2019 NBA Free AgencyCleveland CavaliersJ.R. SmithNBA Free Agency After failing to find a suitable trade partner for veteran shooting guard J.R. Smith, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially waived the mercurial wing on Monday. The team is expected to stretch his $4.3 million salary over the next three seasons, paying $1.7 million in each of those seasons, to stay below the luxury tax line.Though effectively exiled from the team last season after a lack of professionalism and a me-first attitude led to him fuming on the bench when players he felt he was better than earned the nod for minutes over him, Smith will he remembered fondly for his role in the team’s 2016 championship.All-Stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are rightly seen as the primary players to have contributed to the Cavs’ ability to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to Cleveland for the first time in franchise history but Smith notably made two clutch shots in that series that likely kept the Cavs’ championship hopes alive while playing incredible defense of Golden State Warriors All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.What made Smith’s story better was that when Cleveland initially acquired him, his reputation was in shambles due to his immaturity while playing with the New York Knicks and he was seen as a throw-in to the trade package while the defensive-oriented Iman Shumpert was seen as the centerpiece. Shumpert’s injuries gave Smith the opportunity he needed to show his worth on the court and before anyone knew it, “Swish” had become a valued member of the team’s rotation and the Cleveland community appeared to be the catalyst for Smith’s ability to keep his focus on basketball.Aside from throwing a bowl of soup at Cavs former assistant coach Damon Jones, Smith was an excellent teammate and locker room presence before last season. He was humorous, candid and a fun-loving guy who showed plenty of love for his growing family.Frankly, though it would have been ideal for Smith to keep his head down and mouth shut last season, it’s easy to understand why he was frustrated with his lack of playing time. Though he had an underwhelming regular season performance in 2017-18, he was arguably the best wing on the roster once LeBron left.Further, after LeBron opted to head to the Los Angeles Lakers, one of Smith’s primary motivations to be a lunchpail player — winning a NBA championship — evaporated. It didn’t help that LeBron was more or less the team hall monitor, forcing teammates to be on their best and most professional behavior.He’ll be remembered for a lot of moments in Cleveland, and some not nearly as glamorous as others (if not downright embarrassing, like his decision to dribble the clock out in regulation in a pivotal Game 1).However, J.R. was undoubtedly one of the most entertaining figures in Cavs’ franchise history and one of the most important as well.Smith is widely expected to join LeBron and the Lakers once he hits the free agent market.
Ricky Thornton Jr. led every lap of the $10,000 to win Clash at the Creek feature for IMCA Modifieds at 141 Speedway. The Clash also marked the first race outside the State of Iowa for the Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour. (Photo by Joe Slack, www.danlewisphoto.net)By Mike SpiekerFRANCIS CREEK, Wis. (June 21) – Ricky Thornton Jr. dominated Thursday’s IMCA Modified Clash at the Creek at 141 Speedway to earn the $10,000 payday.Already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot, Thornton led all 50 trips around the smooth and slick 1/3-mile dirt oval.The Clash did double duty as an Arnold Motor Supply Dirt Knights Tour event, the first such held outside Iowa. Eighty-two Modifieds were entered and seven states were represented in the main event.Thornton grabbed the lead from the pole on the opening lap as Mike Mullen filed into second. A gaggle of cars, including Hunter Marriott, Joel Rust, Kyle Stickler and Benji LaCrosse, raced for the final positions inside the top five.Thornton immediately checked out from the field, establishing a one second lead over Mullen in the first five laps. Like Thornton, the rest of the drivers inside the top five ran the low side of the speedway until Strickler countered that trend.Strickler went to the top side and quickly began picking off cars, going from sixth to second in five laps. Each driver he passed followed suit and began running the high side as well.Stickler began to reel in the leader as Thornton encountered lapped traffic, but Stickler could only put a dent in Thornton’s comfortable advantage. Marriott caught Strickler at the halfway point and placed a bid for the runner-up spot. The two traded second for the next three laps with Mullen staying within striking distance.With 21 circuits remaining, Marriott snuck around the outside of Stickler for second. Meanwhile, Thornton Jr. enjoyed a lead of well over a straightaway.With 14 laps to go, Thornton’s lead was negated as the lone caution flew after a lapped car made contact with Marriott and spun in turn one. The caution was called on the lapped car and Marriott rejoined the field in second for the restart.Just as he did on the initial start, Thornton checked out from the field immediately and easily cruised to the win as Marriott came home second.“I wasn’t sure how big of a lead I had,” said Thornton from victory lane. “I kept looking at the scoreboard. I saw Kyle [Strickler] was second and then I saw Hunter [Marriott] got by him so I thought for sure he was going to be coming. When we got that yellow, I was just hoping my tires would fire on the restart. I had to make sure I hit my line in turn one or else Hunter would have drove right on by.”Following the post-race interview, Thornton took the traditional leap into the infield pond. He’d also won the Dirt Knights opener at Benton County Speedway.Terry Phillips, who started 16th, finish third. LaCrosse and Dylan Smith rounded out the top five.Modified qualifying began Wednesday at Francis Creek. Kyle Frederick and John Heinz were $1,000 IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature winners and Ethan Braaksma and Kyle Raddant captured $1,000 to in features for Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods.Feature results – 1. Ricky Thornton Jr.; 2. Hunter Marriott; 3. Terry Phillips; 4. Benji LaCrosse; 5. Dylan Smith; 6. Kyle Strickler; 7. Jordan Grabouski; 8. Jason Czarapata; 9. Jason Hughes; 10. Joel Rust; 11. Kelly Shryock; 12. Josh Long; 13. Cayden Carter; 14. Jason Wolla; 15. Mark Joski; 16. Steve Schneider; 17. Tim Ward; 18. Troy Cordes; 19. Kyle Brown; 20. Billy Kendall; 21. Shawn Kilgore; 22. Brian Mullen; 23. Dan Roedl.