J.R. Smith says former Cavs swingman was only teammate he couldn’t ‘stand’ in entire NBA career

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith has spent 16 seasons in the NBA, but among his many teammates over the years, Sam Dekker is the only one that he didn’t like.

Smith recently appeared on the “All Things Covered” podcast and explained to co-hosts Bryant McFadden and Patrick Peterson why Dekker got under his skin.

“Throughout my whole career, there’s only one teammate I really don’t like, and he knows that,” Smith said. “Everybody else I’m just cool with.”

The hosts then asked Smith who the player was.

“Sam Dekker, dawg,” he said. “I can’t stand him. He did some bulls— on the bus one day. He was talking some [Donald] Trump s— and I just wasn’t having it.”

Smith then explained that it was his perception of Dekker as someone lacking empathy toward others that Smith found disrespectful.

“He’s a person who’s just very aware of somebody else’s circumstances and wants to keep them there as opposed to try help them elevate up,” he said. “I don’t respect anything about that.”

Smith and Dekker were only teammates for a few months before Smith.

Dekker angering Smith so quickly may help explain why he played with four different NBA teams from 2015 to 2019, and why he’s now playing overseas.

After being out of the NBA since his release by the Cavaliers, Smith was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers and was part of their NBA title run, giving him his second championship ring.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.