The NBA continues to face issues with many players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Over 100 players have entered the protocols in the month of December and things haven’t been getting much better. Due to this, many players who were in the G League or free agency have been landing on teams. We’ve seen names like Joe Johnson, Isaiah Thomas and Darren Collison get back on rosters in recent weeks.
One player who should probably be getting a shot but hasn’t is JR Smith. The former Los Angeles Lakers guard has been out of the NBA this season as he’s been going to college and playing golf at the NCAA level. However, he hasn’t gotten the call in the NBA because he’s retired. Smith took to Twitter to make sure the league knows that he’s ready for a 10-day contract if a team needs him.
Smith didn’t play a game last season and only played in 17 combined over the two previous years before. He was with the Lakers during his last stint where he played in six games, averaging 2.8 points a game on 9.1% shooting from three.
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Lakers Are Likely Done Adding to the Roster
The Lakers have already added Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Stanley Johnson and Jemerrio Jones in December on hardship exemptions. Barring another outbreak on the roster, the team isn’t bringing in any more players. Los Angeles is the most logical destination for Smith if he returned due to his friendship with LeBron James but it’s not likely to happen.
He didn’t make much of an impact on the team during their championship run in 2018. He’s also 36-years-old. The Lakers should be getting younger before they think about getting older. Smith could make sense on some teams if he can prove that he can still shoot. It’d certainly be fun to have him back in the NBA.
Do Any Players Have a Chance to Earn Spot on Lakers?
With all these 10-day contracts getting thrown around, many players will only be in the NBA temporarily this year. The Lakers have brought in four players and it remains to be seen if any of them will stay. Thomas is a likely man out. He was mainly brought in when the team thought they’d be missing Russell Westbrook for an extended period. The star guard didn’t end up being out long so it shouldn’t be expected that Thomas will get another contract.
Collison is interesting because he was a great 3-point shooter before retiring a couple of years ago. If he can still hit threes, he’d be a valuable guard to have come off the bench. Jones is also interesting because he’s a wing who can rebound really well. Johnson could also get a shot if he keeps playing good defense. He was with the South Bay Lakers for a while so he’s familiar with the franchise. The team needs defense and he showed some upside on that side of the court against the Brooklyn Nets.