The Los Angeles Lakers have a sudden roster spot due to Avery Bradley’s decision to forgo the NBA’s bubble league, citing the health and safety of his family. With the opportunity to bring someone on board and a sudden hole in the team’s backcourt, reports indicate that the Lakers are interested in bringing in someone with whom LeBron James is quite familiar.
According to Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, J.R. Smith’s name is on the list of possibilities to don the purple and gold in Orlando.
One person that is a possibility for the Lakers as a roster addition is JR Smith. Smith worked out for the team back before they signed Dion Waiters, and they're familiar with him. https://t.co/yKRd7AUIu8
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 24, 2020
Adrian Wojnarowski didn’t just confirm that Smith’s name appears on some sort of list, but he went as far as to say that Smith is a “leading candidate” to fill the hole on the team’s roster left by Bradley.
Free agent guard JR Smith has emerged as a leading candidate to replace Avery Bradley on the Lakers roster, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 24, 2020
Smith, of course, has not been in the league since his tenure ended with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2018-19 campaign. His name has been floated whenever a team has needed someone to come into the backcourt with nothing ever coming to fruition, and there are questions about whether Smith can still be a valuable contributor, seeing as how he struggled in Cleveland while the team was in the midst of a rebuild and it’s been quite some time since he last played. The Lakers do present a unique opportunity, though, both because he’s worked out for them in the past and he’s a battle-tested veteran who has played in a whole lot of big games next to James.