Though the Los Angeles Lakers recently added Markieff Morris, it appears they could have some interest in adding additional pieces. There’s been rumored interest in the likes of Dion Waiters and Moe Harkless, but the former has character concerns and the latter probably isn’t getting out of his contract with the New York Knicks. Former LeBron James teammate J.R. Smith is a name that has also been thrown around.
It was reported that he was supposed to have a workout with the team. It’s unknown if that workout actually happened, but Smith made it seem like he’s in the dark about a potential move. Responding to a question about whether he would play for the Lakers or the Clippers on his Instagram story, Smith said: “They ain’t call yet so.”
It’s possible that Smith already had his workout and is just waiting to hear back from the team. There hasn’t been anything linking the Clippers to Smith, so it seems like his best bet at getting back on an NBA roster is with the Lakers.
LeBron Recently Endorsed Smith
A big thing that works in Smith’s favor is his relationship with LeBron James. The two had some great years in Cleveland while playing for the Cavaliers. The Lakers star recently had some strong praise for Smith.
“That boi will take and make the toughest shots!! #Facts,” James wrote in an Instagram post. “We called him 911 because when there’s an emergency give it to him and its cash.”
Smith is a sharpshooter who has made some pretty big shots in his career. Unfortunately, he’s often remembered for blowing game one against the Golden State Warriors during the 2018 NBA Finals, but he’s had an effective career. He also has a strong relationship with LeBron, which can only help.
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Would Smith Be a Fit With the Lakers?
Will J.R. Smith be the difference that gets the Lakers to the NBA Finals this year? Probably not. That said, he’s an effective shooter off the bench and Los Angeles could use that. Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated recently ran down why Smith could be a good fit for the Lakers:
Basketball-wise, Smith still has utility as a shooter. Having another wing against the Clippers’ stable of Kawhi, Lou, PG, and Marcus Morris certainly couldn’t hurt. This obviously all depends on if he’s in basketball shape or healthy to play, but if the Lakers receive something close to the 2018 version of Smith, they’re getting someone who can not only score, but also steal a few minutes defensively on opposing wings. (J.R. isn’t going to lock anyone down, but he’s not necessarily a turnstile either.)
While Los Angeles would like some help at point guard, there aren’t many strong options on the market after Darren Collison decided to stay retired. If they can’t find a point guard they like, there’s no reason not to add someone like Smith if he’s in good shape. He doesn’t have a reputation as a locker room disruptor and shouldn’t hurt the chemistry with the team thanks to his relationship with LeBron.