With Avery Bradley opting not to participate in the NBA’s restart this summer, the Lakers will have the ability to sign a substitute player to replace him, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (via Twitter) that J.R. Smith has emerged as a leading candidate to be that player.
Smith, 34, didn’t play in the NBA at all this season, having last appeared in just 11 games for the Cavaliers in 2018/19 before being waived in November of that season. In ’17/18, his last full season, he was a solid role player in Cleveland, averaging 8.3 PPG and 2.9 RPG with a .375 3PT% in 80 games (28.1 MPG).
Smith worked out for the Lakers in March before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If Smith does sign as a substitute player for Bradley, he’d get a minimum-salary, rest-of-season contract and would become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He wouldn’t count against Los Angeles’ cap, but the team also wouldn’t have any form of Bird rights on him at season’s end.