Lakers signing J R Smith
Photo Credit: ClutchPoints

Lakers signing jr smith

BREAKING: Lakers Signing JR Smith for The Remainder of The 2020 Season

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On Monday the Los Angeles Lakers made a move to help bolster their bench by signing 34 year-old guard J.R. Smith to a contract that will run through the remainder of the NBA season once they begin play in Orlando in July.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: Lakers Daily

The Lakers, who also signed Dion Waiters to a contract before COVID-19 halting the NBA season, have been rumored to be a destination for Smith since LeBron James signed with the Lakers last year. Smith and James played together in Cleveland for the Cavaliers and have styles that complement each other on the court.

Like with Waiters, James also knows what Smith brings to the table. Smith was signed to be a spot-up shooter. The issue here, though, is that Smith hasn’t played since 2018. In the 2018-19 season, he averaged 6.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 11 games with the Cavaliers before the team waived him in the summer of 2019.

 

The Lakers are hoping Smith can fill the role of a reliable 3-point shooter and giving them some quality effort on the defensive end.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: OC Register

After Avery Bradley announced that he would not be joining the Lakers in Orlando, the franchise quickly turned toward available free agents to fill his role. Smith will likely fall behind Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Rajon Rondo in Los Angeles’ perimeter rotation. Though Smith might get a little more than spot minutes, the Lakers will miss Bradley’s defense. Smith isn’t duplicating that, but does play with effort and has a knack for frustrating opponents.

Losing Bradley is quite a loss for Los Angeles due to his tough perimeter defense and reliable 3-point shooting, but it’s not something this team can’t overcome to win a championship. Bradley voluntarily decided to opt-out of the NBA’s restart due to family and health concerns amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and the lack of safety precautions in the NBA’s bubble plan in Orlando.

 

The Lakers hope is that Smith can bring even more fire power off the bench.

 

Lakers
Photo Credit: Basketball Forever

The Lakers have a sturdy bench with Dwight Howard, Caruso, Waiters, Caldwell-Pope, Rondo, and Quinn Cook. Assuming no other Lakers players voluntarily opt-out of the resumption of the season, the club won’t have the ability to make another addition without cutting someone. Currently, all 17 roster spots are filled, with two-way players Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo joining the 15 players on standard contracts.

Smith will receive a rest-of-season, minimum-salary contract that won’t count against the Lakers’ cap. It will pay him just shy of $290K, which represents 20/177ths of the usual $2,564,753 minimum salary for a player with 10+ years of NBA service. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and L.A. won’t hold any form of Bird Rights on him this fall.

 

Smith has played 15 NBA seasons since New Orleans drafted him in 2004 out of St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey. He has also made stops in Denver and New York. He won an NBA title with LeBron James and the Cavaliers in 2016 and won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award in 2013 with the Knicks.

 

As of this report nothing is official yet, but barring any technicalities J.R. Smith to the Lakers is happening. The Lakers hope Smith can help provide some scoring and playoff experience as they look to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back home to Staples Center in Los Angeles for the seventeenth time in team history.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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