With NBA training camps starting up again in limited capacity, the Los Angeles Lakers will be down one player. Avery Bradley announced that he will not join the team in Orlando, Florida, leaving the Lakers without one of their best guards.
Before the team heads to Walt Disney World, they’ll have a chance to sign someone to replace Bradley on the roster, with JR Smith reported as the most likely candidate.
Smith spent several years playing alongside LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and would fit in nicely as a scorer capable of getting his own shot. In addition, Smith would be one of a very short list of players who would not disrupt chemistry in any way, as he has already spent time with guys like James and Anthony Davis during the NBA’s shutdown.
Furthermore, Smith has reportedly spent the last few weeks training with some Lakers players as well, according to Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of the L.A. Times:
Smith worked out for the Lakers in March on the same day as Dion Waiters, who they eventually signed. Smith has also been working out with Lakers players recently.
Smith is certainly not quite the that Bradley is for a number of reasons, but he would still be a good fit on the roster.
Bradley was third among guards in minutes per game for the Lakers this season, averaging 24.2 per contest. Even if the Lakers don’t add Smith, Bradley’s minutes can be easily split between the likes Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers’ newest addition, Dion Waiters.
Adding Smith will not guarantee that he becomes a regular part of the rotation. However, of the players currently available to be signed, he looks to be one of the best insurance plans should the Lakers need one in Orlando.
While there are still things to discuss internally between vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office and coaching staff, it would make the most sense to bring a full roster to Orlando, as the Lakers will need as deep of a roster as possible should anything happen.
Smith has not yet played a game this season, and only played 11 for the Cavaliers last season before being waived. The 2017-18 season was his last full year, and he shot 37.5% from three while scoring over 8 points per game.
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