J.R. Smith was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 15, making him a free agent. As of now, he remains without a new deal, but several NBA afficianados, including Lakers assistant Phil Handy, believe Swish can still contribute to an NBA team.
Handy and Smith share a unique relationship. When the Cavs made four consecutive trips to the Finals, Handy was there on the bench, serving as an assistant.
Yes, Handy knows Smith’s game quite well, and he believes the streaky shooter should still be in the NBA:
At one point in this offseason, the Lakers were rumored to be interested in Smith’s services. However, those talks have since died down a bit. If he were to join the the team, he’d likely be competing for minutes, as Los Angeles already has several players who can play the 2 or 3 positions (Avery Bradley, Jared Dudley, Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope).
Still, Smith could still be a viable backup option for some teams. The 33-year-old made 11 appearances with the Cavs last season, racking up averages of 6.7 points on 34.2 percent shooting from the field (30.8 percent from beyond the arc), 1.9 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per outing.
Whether or not Smith will get another gig in the NBA remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Handy is pulling for him.