Report: Los Angeles Lakers Finalizing Deal with Free Agent Guard J.R. Smith

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 16: NBA Player J.R. Smith attends week four of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Wells Fargo Center on July 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/BIG3/Getty Images)

Free-agent guard J.R. Smith is finalizing a deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers for the remainder of the 2019-20 season according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

J.R. Smith Finalizing Deal with the Los Angeles Lakers

If the deal goes through, the Lakers will add Smith to the roster for the Orlando restart that will begin on July 30th. The Lakers have been in talks with the NBA champion veteran since Avery Bradley opted out of the restart due to concerns over his daughter’s health. The deal will be submitted to the NBA on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old sharpshooter hasn’t played since November 2019 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He will rejoin former teammate LeBron James, who was also on the 2016 Cavs’ Champion team.

However, Smith did work out for the Lakers in February prior to the team signing guard Dion Waiters to a one-year deal. With Bradley opting out, it is certain that a bundle of duties will fall in the hands of Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the backcourt, while Rajon Rondo and Waiters will provide depth on the bench.

Smith’s role will most likely be off the bench for depth purposes alongside Waiters and Rondo. He should still successfully contribute to the Lakers. His solid shooting skills — particularly from behind the arc — and perimeter defense will be a huge plus. Perimeter defense is an area the team has lacked in the majority of the season. Smith may fill the void left by Bradley’s absence.

Since he was drafted out of St. Benedict’s Prep in 2004, Smith has played 15 seasons for the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and the Cavs. In addition to winning an NBA title with the Cavs, he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award with the Knicks in 2013. Throughout his career, he has averaged 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Teams have until July 1st to sign free agents before traveling to Orlando, Florida.

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