Report: The Lakers Are Finalizing A Deal With JR Smith
The Lakers are reportedly finalizing a deal with JR Smith to add him to the roster when the NBA resumes in Florida next month, according to ESPN.
The Lakers have targeted Smith since Avery Bradley opted out of the season on June 23 because of family reasons, opening up a roster spot.
Smith played alongside LeBron James from 2015-2018, which would make it easier to incorporate him onto the team during an abbreviated eight-game season. They won the franchise's first championship together in 2016.
But Smith hasn't played since Nov. 19, 2018, when he mutually parted ways with the Cavaliers, raising questions around his conditioning and sharpness.
Smith has career averages of 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 15 seasons with New Orleans, Denver, New York and Cleveland.
But in 11 games with the Cavaliers in 2018, he averaged only 6.7 points on 30.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The Lakers will have a big hole on the defensive end without Bradley, who started in 44 games this season and was known as dogged perimeter defender.
Smith is a strong defender, who could also space out the floor for the Lakers on the offensive end. He's a career 37 percent three-point shooter.
In one of Smith's final games alongside James during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA finals between Cleveland and Golden State, Smith infamously made a very costly mistake. He dribbled away from the basket with 4.5 seconds left and the score tied despite James frantically screaming for him to make a play. Smith later said he the thought the Cavaliers had the lead. The Warriors went on to sweep the Cavaliers, winning their third NBA championship in four seasons.
But Smith won the NBA's Sixth Man Award in 2013 with the Knicks and has 11 years of playoff experience.
Smith worked out with the Lakers in February before they signed Dion Waiters.
The NBA has a transaction window through July 1 to sign free agents before the season's resumption.