NBA free agent, JR Smith has not played basketball since November 19, 2018, against the Detroit Pistons. At that point, his Cleveland Cavaliers were 2-13 and he logged just six minutes in the matchup.
Apparently, he’ll get the opportunity to showcase his talent and prove that he’s still capable of playing at a high level.
According to a Lakers source close to the situation, Smith will get a workout with the Los Angeles Lakers next week.
“There are no guarantees,” said the source.
“They want to see what he can do and if it is a fit, we’ll take it from there.”
During the 2018-19 NBA season, Smith only played in 11 games as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The team granted Smith a leave of absence after he voiced that he was unhappy. During his leave of absence, the Cavs searched for a trade partner.
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J.R. Smith’s Departure From Cavaliers & NBA Career Thus Far
They couldn’t find one and the Cavs and Smith mutually agreed on a buyout that paid him the remaining $4.3 million in guaranteed money over the next three years.
Smith was the 18th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets by way of St. Benedict’s Preparatory High School in Newark, New Jersey.
Smith has career averages of 12.5 points per game during playing stints with the Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
On a previous episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes weighed in on the possibility of the Lakers taking a look at Smith. “I think the Lakers are giving him a serious look,” Haynes said over the summer.
“Because I think they want to go into the season with the roster they have. 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.”
“The only thing with J.R. is you have to see where he is mentally, if he’s gonna come in and behave like a model citizen. But, you can’t deny his skill-set, or that he’s one of the best catch and shoot players in the league; championship pedigree. He knows how to play at a high level. So, I actually thought he’d be gone by now.”
J.R. Smith’s Relationship With LeBron James
Smith and Lakers All-Star LeBron James are close. They were members of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship team in 2016 and played together from 2014-15 through 2017-18 before James left to sign with the Lakers.
While Smith’s workout doesn’t guarantee a spot on the Lakers roster, it is at least a start in his pursuit of a new home. It is believed that Smith did have teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets looking at him over the summer.
But the relationship he has with James could help him.
“Unless you get LeBron’s seal of approval, I don’t know who he helps, you know,” Washington Post writer, Ben Golliver told me previously on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“And I think it’s unfortunate, I think it’s a situation where there have been red flags with him that have accumulated over the course of his career. I think that sometimes there’s a risk or verse approach from front offices where they just think like: ‘look, he might be able to help us, but he can really make me look bad if things don’t go well, so I don’t wanna risk it.’ You know? So I think it takes advocacy from one of his friends, whether if it’s a Kevin Love or a LeBron James to sort of get him into a spot.”