There were many lingering questions of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas and others. The biggest ones involved Thomas’ health and when he could get on the court and help the Cavs, and what Cleveland would do in the interim. One question that hasn’t gotten as much publicity, but was a valid question is what will happen now that J.R. Smith and Jae Crowder are teammates.
It was a minor fact that was immediately buried with all the drama surrounding the health of Thomas’ hip. But now that it’s clear Thomas won’t play for some time in Cleveland, the players that will play together are starting to regain some focus as the season nears. So how will Smith and Crowder play together now that they must play together as teammates after having some hostile interactions as opponents?
This is a beef that’s lingered for a few years now in the Eastern Conference, but much like LeBron and Kyrie’s time together as teammates, it appears to be history. Smith posted a video on Instagram on Wednesday of the once-rivals hanging out, signaling the end of a feud and, hopefully, the birth of a beautiful friendship.
“Squash it,” Smith says into the camera as he walks. He then pans to his left to show Crowder walking next to him. He says “workflow,” as one often does when walking alongside a new colleague. It looks like they’ll have no problems working past the issues of the last few seasons. After all, what’s a flagrant foul or two among friends?
The beef stemmed from the 2015 first round playoff series between the Cavaliers and Celtics where Smith was ejected after two flagrant fouls against Crowder.
In the third quarter of Game 4 of the series, with Cleveland up 3-0 and winning by more than 20, Smith swung wildly at Crowder while the two battled under the basket for a rebound. Avery Bradley shot a three and with Crowder and Smith going for the rebound, Smith knocked the then-Celtic to the floor. Crowder didn’t get up for a while and was helped off the court.
Smith was hit with a flagrant 2 and was ejected, and the two were less than friendly since for good reason. The two were perennial playoff opponents. All of that appears to be over and the two are ready to move forward as teammates and pursue the common goal of beating the Celtics.