Lakers Open Roster Spot: Dion Waiters Has Advantage Over J.R. Smith?

Dion Waiters

SG: Dion Waiters, Miami

Opponent: at Chicago
Price: $6,200
While Waiters was unable to score 33 points for a third consecutive game in his last outing, he did make it three straight games in which he's scored 40 FanDuel points or more. Against the Nets on Wednesday, Waiters accounted for 24 points, eight assists and five rebounds, and over the last three games he's shot 61.4 percent from the field while averaging 30.0 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. (Getty)

One need that the Los Angeles Lakers need is a speedy guard that can both run the offense in their second and third unit and create instant offense.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers began that process by interviewing and working out guard, Dion Waiters. The Lakers were impressed with his basketball IQ and came away with the feeling that he could potentially help their ball club, I’m told.

A scoring combo guard, Waiters has had stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat. Playing in only three games this season, Waiters, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native has a career average of 13.2 points per game.

Waiters was part of the trade that shipped Andre Iguodala to the Miami Heat at last month’s NBA trading deadline. Waiters was shipped to the Memphis Grizzlies and was promptly bought out by Memphis.

The fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Waiters had a great year statistically in his rookie campaign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Syracus product notched 14.7 points, three assists, 2.4 rebounds and added one steal in 28.8 minutes of action.

For those keeping score at home: Waiters shot 41.2 percent from the field and notched 31 percent from downtown. Waiters also shot 74.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Waiters is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Los Angeles Lakers big man, Anthony Davis and point guard, LeBron James are also represented by Klutch.

J.R. Smith is also represented by Paul and Klutch.

lebron james jr smith

GettyLeBron James with J.R. Smith.

The 18th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets from Newark, New Jersey’s St. Benedict’s Preparatory High School, Smith has not played in the NBA since last season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Smith was teammates with LeBron James when the two won the 2016 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers have had their eyes on Smith for while and as first reported on January 25, the Lakers could look to Smith for veteran leadership off the bench if they choose to sign him.

“You always want to win,” Smith said last week on social media when asked if he hoped to play for a contender.

“That’s the goal! You also want to play at the highest level possible.

“I’m still better than 85% of the players on the court.”

Smith has a career average of 12.5 points per game during playing stints with the Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Sunday was the NBA’s deadline for players to be waived and become eligible to be added onto postseason rosters.

The Lakers waived Troy Daniels, who averaged 4 points in 11 minutes to make room. Daniels expected to be waived by LA. In an interview during NBA All Star Weekend in Chicago, the Roanoke, Virginia native told me that being traded five times in the past seven years is no fun.

“I’m scarred for life,” he said.

The Los Angeles Lakers currently sit in first place in the NBA’s Western Conference with a 46-13 record. They’ll host the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday evening at Staples Center.

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