The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly will sign JR Smith for the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season with Avery Bradley’s decision to opt out of the restart.
According to Marc Stein of New York Times, the Lakers are planning to finalize a deal with Smith before the closure of the league’s transaction window.
“The Lakers, league sources say, are expected to finalize a rest-of-the-season contract with J.R. Smith before Tuesday’s 11:59 PM ET closure of the NBA’s transaction window,” Stein said about Bradley’s replacement for the Lakers.
It seemed almost inevitable that Smith would somehow end up on the Lakers this season and Bradley’s decision to stay back with his family has made it a reality.
Although Smith will be Bradley’s replacement on the 15-man roster, he is unlikely to take his spot in the rotation for head coach Frank Vogel and company right now.
In the 20 games that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has started for the Lakers this season, their record is 17-3 and while he may lack the same prowess on the defensive end, he makes up for that with his ability to create shots for himself.
Smith will instead assume a bench scoring-type of role, which should suit him well as he is 34 years old now and has not played a game since November 2018.
Smith will bring championship experience after playing with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers along with bench scoring to a team that sorely needs that.
If Smith, Danny Green, and Dion Waiters can all get on the same page, the Lakers could be looking at one of the most lethal scoring benches in all of the NBA.
Everyone knows when Smith gets hot, there are few things that can cool him down and the Lakers must hope he can find that hot hand yet again in Orlando, FL.
In his last full season with the Cavs, Smith averaged 8.3 points (37.5 percent from the three-point line), which would be a slight improvement from Bradley (36.4).
Vogel will certainly have his hands full trying to optimize the rotation with so many wings, but if he can manage to do so, the Lakers will be primed and ready.