With LeBron James and Anthony Davis now, much of the attention has been on how the Los Angeles Lakers will build out the roster heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
In Year 1 with James, the Lakers signed ‘tough-minded’ role players in hopes of finding a new path to defeat the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.
However, it became evident James needs three-point shooters and rim protectors to maximize his talents.
As the Lakers will have to fill out some roster spots with the veteran’s minimum available, JR Smith is expected to sign with them if waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers or another team, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“Look. Cleveland right now, they are trying to trade JR Smith. And whichever team trades for JR right now, most likely he will be waived. And when he’s waived, it is my belief that he will end up with the Lakers.”
In addition to Smith, rival executives believe the Lakers will be the ‘most likely destination’ for Carmelo Anthony, according to Ian Begley of SportsNet New York:
Let’s get this out of the way at the top: things can always change, but most executives monitoring Anthony’s free agency see the Lakers as the most likely destination for the 10-time All Star.
After winning one championship in four consecutive NBA Finals appearances with James, it is not surprising Smith has been linked to the Lakers heading into free agency.
While Smith only played in 11 games during the 2018-19 season, he shot at least 35.1% from the three-point line during his four seasons with James and the Cavaliers.
With the Lakers looking for three-point shooters, Smith would not be the worst signing at the veteran’s minimum.
In general manager Rob Pelinka’s first offseason running the team’s front office, it will be interesting to see what he does. Depending on the Davis trade, the Lakers could be armed with $23.7-$32.5 million to pursue a third All-Star player.
Although the Lakers have been linked to D’Angelo Russell, they could sign 2-3 role players to improve their depth.