NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — On Monday night, the 5-32 Knicks traded guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in an effort to begin a rebuilding phase and save money.

On Tuesday, both players took to Instagram to thank the organization.

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The Cavs sent reserves Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk and their 2019 second-round pick to the Knicks, who are desperate to clear salary-cap space.

New York also received forward Lance Thomas from Oklahoma City.


“We’re very excited to welcome Iman and J.R. to Cleveland,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said. “With their size and versatility, we think both Iman and J.R. can help our team on both ends of the court and we look forward to them joining us.”

The mercurial Smith, who has never been afraid to shoot, could give Cleveland’s bench the offensive boost first-year coach David Blatt has been looking for all season.

Smith is a bit of a wild card, and it will be interesting to see how he interacts with Cleveland’s current roster. He has known LeBron James for several years, which should ease the transition.


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The 29-year-old was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2013, but has battled injuries to his heel this season, along with his usual struggles with shot selection and focus off the court.

Shumpert, who has been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, is regarded as a solid perimeter defender. He had been starting before his injury, averaging 9.3 points, and will probably start for Cleveland.

New York’s season is as good as over, and moving Smith and Shumpert will give Knicks team president Phil Jackson some future flexibility. It might also quiet the booing in Madison Square Garden and relieve some of the pressure on rookie coach Derek Fisher.

The moves will allow him to trim more millions off the salary cap, which will allow them to pursue free agents this summer. The team released center Samuel Dalembert and is expected to do the same with Amundson and Kirk.

“As our journey moves through this season, we will search for the type of players that fit the style we hope to exhibit for our fans,” Jackson said. “Our desire is to improve our ability to compete. … These transactions improve our flexibility to the current roster and the salary cap for future seasons.”

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