By Will Yoder
February 13, 2012

The Los Angeles Clippers are interested in signing free-agent J.R Smith, according to ESPN.

Smith will be eligible to return to the NBA later this week after he finishes his Chinese season. The Clippers are reportedly one of a handful of teams interested in landing the former Denver Nuggets guard.

The 26-year-old veteran signed with a team in China during the NBA lockout when it seemed that the 2011-12 NBA season would not take place. Due to international basketball rules, most players who signed deals in China were not allowed to leave to return to the NBA without buying out their contracts completely.

Clippers point guard Chris Paul is reportedly taking the lead in recruiting Smith. Paul played with Smith on the New Orleans Hornets from 2004-06.

Last season in 79 games for the Nuggets, Smith 12.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest.

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