It didn’t take long for J.R Smith-Los Angeles Lakers rumors to swirl after it was reported that Avery Bradley will not play in the playoffs. Smith has a longlasting relationship with Lakers star LeBron James and reuniting the two makes sense. The veteran sharpshooter probably wouldn’t mind playing for the purple and gold as he’s been spotted in Los Angeles over the last couple of months.
Kevin Love played with Smith while they were both members of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the former All-Star endorsed the idea of the Lakers signing him. Smith had a very interesting reply to Love’s message.
Smith has clearly been putting in some work since he last played. His message to Love could mean a lot of things but there’s a good chance it means he’s in serious talks with the Lakers.
Smith Already Reportedly Talking to Lakers
Smith appears to be the most logical replacement for Bradley due to the fact that he’s already worked out for the team. He’s been flirting with the team for months, but they haven’t pulled the trigger for whatever reason. With options limited, it seems like there’s a really good shot the two sides finally come to an agreement.
In fact, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has already reported that the Lakers have met with Smith’s agent and have another meeting planned:
Free-agent guard JR Smith, out of the NBA for two years, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster for the season’s Orlando restart, sources told ESPN.
Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and Smith’s agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, were discussing a possible agreement Tuesday night and were expected to speak again Wednesday, sources said.
The transaction window for the NBA reboot ends at the end of the day June 30th. That gives the Lakers a little more time to come to a final decision. At this point, there aren’t a lot of options and the roster has been expanded. There doesn’t appear to be any reason why the team shouldn’t at least give Smith a shot.
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Smith Hasn’t Played a Game in Over a Year
The biggest red flag concerning Smith is that it has been a very long time since he’s played in an NBA game. The last game he played was back in late 2018 when he was still a Cavalier. He played a tad under six minutes against the Detroit Pistons.
Smith has clearly been staying in shape and should still have some pep in his step at 34 years old. He also has a lot of rapport with LeBron James, which will definitely help his case. Despite the extended time off the court, pairing the former teammates back together makes a lot of sense right now. Obviously, the Lakers would rather have Avery Bradley, but they’re going to have to readjust. There are certainly worse options out there than Smith.