Could J.R Smith be on the way to making a comeback?
Despite reported interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets in recent months, the former NBA champion and Sixth Man of the Year remains unsigned nearly two months into the regular season.
Although he’s 34 years old and it’s been more than a year since he has appeared in an NBA game, Smith is still committed to making a return. Here’s a recent workout video of the veteran sharpshooter in New York, showing off his three-point shooting ability at a gym.
J.R. Smith is Just Waiting For a Call
This isn’t too long after Smith indicated back in October that he’s simply waiting for an NBA team to give him a call.
Smith sat out the majority of the 2018-19 season not due to injury but because the Cleveland Cavaliers elected to sit the veteran as they looked for suitable trade partners for the former starting shooting guard. They were unable to find any suitors and they simply allowed Smith to walk in free agency without getting anything in return.
The 15-year NBA veteran served as the Cavaliers’ starter during the 2015-16 season when they defeated the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the NBA Finals. His best season with the Cavaliers came during the 2015-16 campaign when he averaged 12.4 points per game during the regular season and 11.5 points per game during the postseason on 42.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Barring some major injuries, Smith will likely go unsigned until after the trade deadline, when teams have a better feel for how their roster personnel stacks up and what their exact needs are for a postseason run.
NBA Teams’ Interest in J.R. Smith
As far as the Rockets are concerned, they’ve already had serious injuries to key players such as Gerald Green and Eric Gordon and have refused to sign Smith. That essentially gives you an indication of how they feel about the veteran guard.
The Lakers could be a realistic option down the road considering Smith’s former teammate, LeBron James, is in Los Angeles. However, the Lakers aren’t exactly dying for help with the league’s best record at 17-3. In fact, they were on a 15-game winning streak until they lost to the Dallas Mavericks over the weekend.
With that said, they could use a little boost from beyond the arc — they rank just 22nd in the league in 3-point makes and 13th in 3-point percentage. Their best 3-point shooter is LeBron, which is not a good sign considering he makes just 34.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
The New York Knicks — Smith’s former team — could be an option as they rank in the bottom half of the league in all 3-point shooting categories. However, considering they’re a rebuilding team with a young nucleus, Smith doesn’t really fit into their plans.
Smith may be eager for an NBA return, but NBA teams clearly aren’t eager to sign the veteran guard.
Expect more interest from teams in Smith by the time February and March rolls around.