J.R. Smith finally lands a new home as he prepares for Orlando.
Sources tell ESPN that Smith and the Los Angeles Lakers are finalizing a deal to bring the guard to the team.
Lakers guard Avery Bradley opted out of playing in the restart season last week because of his son’s health.
Smith has not played in an NBA game since November of 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s entering his 17th season in the league with stops including New Orleans, Denver, New York, and Cleveland. He averages around 12.6 points per game and has hit around 37 percent of his three point shot.
During his career, Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award with the Knicks in 2013. He also reunites with LeBron James after the two won an NBA title with the Cavaliers in 2016.
How can J.R. Help L.A.
Smith is known for being one of the best three point shooters in the NBA. Despite a rough 2018-19 season shooting at only 30 percent, some time off should help him get back to shape. He won’t have to play as many games as in previous seasons which should make him fresh.
The lost of Bradley hurts the Lakers in terms of depth, but Smith gives them a good bench player. Los Angeles has plenty of good guards to help step in with guys like Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Rajon Rondo.
Defense on the perimeter could be a cause of concern without Bradley. Smith is more known as an offensive player so the Lakers will have to look at the other guards to step up.
Are the Lakers Still a Championship-Caliber Team?
As long as James and Anthony Davis are on the court for the Lakers, they will be in the conversation. Smith gives them an added weapon on offense. Kyle Kuzma can do it all for Los Angeles and will be a key part of their success.
Head coach Frank Vogel worked through the loss of Bradley by signing a guy who has had playoff success. Smith knows what a championship team looks like. Even though he had one of his worst pro memories on the court of the playoffs, Smith still can have an impact on the team.
The end of the NBA season will be different from any fans have seen, but nothing will change about the Lakers. They are one of the best teams in the NBA and will make a run for a title. Kobe Bryant’s tragic death has inspired the Lakers to keep the winning tradition going in LA.