Lakers finalizing deal with JR Smith

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to add veteran guard JR Smith to their roster for the season comeback in Orlando, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Lakers reportedly have been in discussions with Smith since guard Avery Bradley announced last week that he was opting out of the season restart. According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers are in the final stages of contract negotiations with Smith.

The 34-year-old guard hasn’t played in the NBA since 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when he logged six minutes in a 113-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 19. He worked out for the Lakers in early March as the team was looking to add to its roster, but ultimately opted to sign Dion Waiters to a deal instead of him. 

Smith teamed with James in Cleveland from 2014-18 and proved, at times, to be a critical piece for the Cavaliers in their run to The Finals each of those seasons. In Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, Smith finished with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting (2-for-8 on 3-pointers) as Cleveland won the NBA title. Things went down hill for Smith after James left the Cavs to sign with the Lakers before the 2018-19 season. 

He played in just 11 games that season and stepped away from the team in hopes of being traded or released. He was ultimately waived by the Cavs last summer and has been awaiting a new team since then.