Could J.R. Smith’s next NBA destination be Los Angeles?
The 34-year-old veteran shooting guard remains a free agent nearly a month into the 2019-20 regular season. There have been no reports of any imminent interest in the former NBA champion, who played a key role as the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ starting shooting guard on their way to a championship back in 2016.
With all of that said, maybe Smith’s status as a free agent is about to change. That would be because the 15-year NBA veteran tweeted out on late Thursday night about a flight from Houston to Los Angeles taking so long.
Smith hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since November of last season with the Cavaliers. After appearing in 11 games during the 2018-19 season, the decision was made by the organization to sit Smith until they found a trade partner.
The problem is, the Cavaliers never found a trade partner for the veteran guard and ended up just waiving Smith in the offseason without getting anything in return. Now, there may be some fuel added to the fire behind the idea of a potential Los Angeles Lakers or L.A. Clippers future.
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Stephen Jackson Says Smith Has Been Forced Out of the League
As Heavy’s Landon Buford reported a few weeks prior, maybe Smith has still yet to latch onto another NBA team because he’s being blackballed. According to former NBA veteran Stephen Jackson, he believes that to be the case with Smith.
“I hate to say it, but it seems like they are trying to do my boy J.R. [Smith] the same way as [Melo]. J.R has some much game left and to see him going through that just because he is not who they want him to be. He is himself, yeah, we all make mistakes- We all F*** up, everybody has I love J.R. because he owns it,” said Jackson.
As reported before by Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the Los Angeles Lakers are a possible destination for Smith. Such a reunion would be interesting considering LeBron James is currently leading the Lakers.
“I think the Lakers are giving him a serious look,” Yahoo Sports’ Haynes told Brandon Robinson on the Scoop B Radio Podcast. “I think they want to go into the season with the roster they have,” Haynes added. “(They want to) check the first 10, 15 games, see how things are going, check the list of numbers and percentages, and see what they lack before they decide what they’re gonna do.”
While James and Smith had tons of success as teammates of the Cavaliers from 2015 until 2018 — they were in four straight Finals together — the most memorable moment that the two shared together was when Smith infamously blew Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals by dribbling out the clock when he thought the team had a lead — when they didn’t.
J.R. Smith Not Worried About Next Destination
Smith last commented on his next NBA destination way back in July, when he basically said it’s not up to him whether or not he receives a shot again in the league.
“I’m not the general manager or the owner, so I don’t really have a choice in those decisions, so I’ll leave it where it’s at,” he said.
“I’m just taking it day by day. I’m fortunate to be home with my kids and my wife for this amount of time, and I’m not taking that for granted.”
Considering Smith’s ability to knock down the 3-point shot, he should be able to latch on with a contender before season’s end.
Whether that’s with the Lakers or Clippers in the coming days or weeks remain to be seen, but considering his experience with championship-caliber teams, it wouldn’t come as a shock if he were to eventually land in Los Angeles.