The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to sign swingman J.R. Smith to a rest-of-season contract, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. The Lakers recently lost shooting guard Avery Bradley, as he chose to sit out the restart of the 2019-20 season.
The Lakers had been searching for another cog at the position, immediately landing on Smith, who hasn’t seen action in more than a year.
This deal with Smith will happen before Tuesday’s 11:59 p.m. ET deadline of the NBA’s “transaction window.” Rosters for the NBA restart at Walt Disney World must be turned in to the league office by Wednesday. July 1.
Smith will join his longtime teammate LeBron James, whom he spent all four years in Cleveland, including his last few during an NBA Finals sweep at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.
It was Smith who erred in thought, passing to a well-defended George Hill in the corner after ensnaring an offensive rebound in the winding seconds of regulation in a tied Game 1, costing the Cavaliers a potential game-winning basket.
It has been more than two years since that memorable gaffe and Smith and James will be reunited, as the former gets to wear a new jersey after going unsigned all season long.
Smith was waived by the Cavs in 2019 after the team found no suitable trade for the struggling shooter. The longtime NBA veteran also sat out most of the 2018-19 season, estranged from the team after constant disputes for playing time with the front office.
The 34-year-old has career averages of 12.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists through 15 NBA seasons.