Lakers’ LeBron James played part in signing of J.R. Smith
The Los Angeles Lakers addressed the loss of veteran guard Avery Bradley by bringing in another veteran to help fill the void in sharp-shooting journeyman, J.R. Smith. The team made the signing of Smith official on Wednesday.
Before the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended back in March, the Lakers made a signing to bolster the bench. The team inked a deal with Dion Waiters, who is another former teammate of LeBron James. The three-time NBA champion has played a part in a few signings for Los Angeles ever since he joined the team, and it appears Smith is the latest to be added due to the connection and experience playing alongside the future Hall of Famer.
During a Zoom call with the L.A. media on Wednesday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel talked about what the veteran newcomer will bring to the team.
“In terms of what he brings to the table, just the experience factor,” Vogel said of the addition of Smith. “This guy is a big-time player. He’s proven it over the course of his career. We know he can help us.”
Smith’s experience playing with LeBron played a factor in the signing.
“That was a factor,” Vogel admits. “His familiarity with LeBron and the way we built our team obviously around LeBron. There’s a lot of similarities with the way they did things in Cleveland. That definitely is a factor in what we feel J.R. can bring to the table in what is going to be a very short time to get acclimated.”
Smith was the frontrunner to land with the Lakers ever since the league announced that rosters could be expanded, and Bradley choosing not to join his team in Orlando. It also came down to Waiters and Smith earlier this year when Los Angeles wanted to set their roster for the playoffs, as Vogel admits.
“We almost added him earlier in the year when we added Dion Waiters, and now we have the luxury of having both,” Vogel said.
Although Smith hasn’t played a game all season long, the team seems confident they made the right choice to add to an experienced roster filled with players looking to add another championship ring to their resume or win a title for the first time in their career.