Although the NBA has gone to great lengths to establish the best environment possible at Walt Disney World, commissioner Adam Silver, the board of governors and Players Association readily recognize the risks that are still present with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Because of that, players are being given an opportunity to sit out when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Florida, without facing penalty. That possibility further entered the spotlight amid a players’ coalition forming and raising concerns with restarting play amid social unrest across the country.
The group was led by Kyrie Irving but also included heavy involvement from Los Angeles Lakers teammates Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard. Both were considered candidates to sit out when the Lakers report to the Walt Disney World campus, and on Tuesday night came news Bradley would do such because of concerns over the health of his son.
The Lakers now have the option to replace Bradley, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team is seriously considering signing JR Smith, and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka is expected to speak with Rich Paul again on Wednesday:
Free-agent guard JR Smith, out of the NBA for two years, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster for the season’s Orlando restart, sources told ESPN.
Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and Smith’s agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, were discussing a possible agreement Tuesday night and were expected to speak again Wednesday, sources said.
Smith was among the players the Lakers were linked to after waiving Troy Daniels in March. L.A. ultimately wound up signing Dion Waiters for the remainder of the season, but he has yet to appear in a game for the team.
Even after adding Waiters to their roster, the Lakers reportedly remained in search of a shooter. Another move came when DeMarcus Cousins was waived in order to sign Markieff Morris.
The Lakers do have some depth on their roster at the guard position, as the team can still rely on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo and Waiters. However, where they would miss Bradley’s impact is on the defensive end of the court.
NBA transaction window
If the Lakers are to sign Smith to replace Bradley or another player, it will need to come prior to the NBA transaction window closing at 8:59 p.m. PT on Tuesday, June 30.
Eligible players include those who had an NBA or G League contract this season or were not under contract this season with a professional team outside of the United States. The transaction window opened Tuesday morning.
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