Lakers Sign Veteran Guard J.R. Smith

JULY 1, 12:45pm: Smith has officially signed a contract with the team, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

JUNE 29, 11:10am: The Lakers are expected to finalize a rest-of-season contract with free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith this week, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Smith and the Lakers are working through the final steps of a deal today.

Smith, 34, didn’t play in the NBA at all this season, but worked out for the Lakers in March before the league went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. When word broke last week that Avery Bradley was voluntarily opting out of the NBA’s restart, Smith was immediately identified as a leading candidate to replace him on L.A.’s summer roster.

Smith last played in the NBA in 2018/19, appearing in just 11 games for the Cavaliers 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).

As a substitute player, Smith will receive a rest-of-season, minimum-salary contract that won’t count against the Lakers’ cap. It will pay him just shy of $290K, which represents 20/177ths of the usual $2,564,753 minimum salary for a player with 10+ years of NBA service. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season and L.A. won’t hold any form of Bird rights on him this fall.

Even with Bradley out, it’s not clear that Smith will actually see much action this summer. However, he becomes the latest intriguing character to join the Lakers’ depth chart on the wing — the team signed veteran shooting guard Dion Waiters shortly before play was suspended in March.

Assuming no other Lakers players voluntarily opt out of the resumption of the season, the club won’t have the ability to make another addition without cutting someone. Currently, all 17 roster spots are filled, with two-way players Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo joining the 15 players on standard contracts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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28 thoughts on “Lakers Sign Veteran Guard J.R. Smith

  1. imindless
    imindless

    Yikes, imagine signing this bonehead and thinking you still have a chance. Die hard lakers fan but I don’t see us beating clippers as currently constructed. Makes no sense when you already have waiters…..

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      Losing Avery Bradley is a much bigger deal than people think.

    • mrshyguy99

      how wont they beat the clippers? it pretty much the same team without AB who beat them before and had many close games with them. plus we havent even seen how the team would do with waiter .

      • GABEPERKINS1

        Lakers Couldve very easily won game 1 and 2 vs lakers.. both games tied after the 3rd.. clippers just pulled it out in 4th.. lakers made adjustments.. I’m sure clippers will make adjustments as well.. I’ll take playoff lebron all day long

        • if I had a dollar for every basketball team that could have won were it not for the other team stepping it up in the fourth quarter….

    • The Human Rain Delay

      Just a warm body who may or may not even get a minute on the court in the playoffs-

      Caruso has a huge opp here along with DG/KCP for LA. to have some big moments

      I dont see the grey clouds tbh….. LAL is ready to roll

    • Afk711

      Its the final roster spot, who on earth cares. If Lou Willians doesn’t show up its Lakers in 5.

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        So who is supposed to guard Kawhi and Paul George?

        Bradley was the Lakers best perimeter defender, although Green is also pretty good. He can still guard one of them, but not both.

        • The Human Rain Delay

          I think Avery would have used more on Bev ad Lou than them

          DG and Pope have their work cut out for them – Lebron will provide help as well as help D from Brow/Howard/McGee

  2. afsooner02

    Oh good….we get to see Lebron call out JR again for not knowing the score/clock again. What a timeless GIF.

  3. mlbnyyfan

    I would of preferred Shumpet. Funny how LBJ still gives this guy a chance after that Game 1 mistake. You know the Lakers had to get LBJ approval before the signing

  4. mlbnyyfan

    LBJ would of been better off getting D Wade or Jamal Crawford out of retirement. Especially with players just playing a handful of games and then the playoffs.

  5. Buckman

    If he strokes the 3 ball in the high 30s he will be a net benefit to LAL.

  6. Skip, Tampa

    Smith with a 3 ball in the high 30’s will him a Star in the Magic Kingdom.
    Bron and his veteran retreads with complete disdain for the younger players comes thru again.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Lakers needed bench scoring all yr. Bradley is a solid 2way player, rotation guy. With Waiters and J.R. they should be ok. Still don’t see them beating Clippers. Bucks and Clippers have strongest rosters imo. That will be a good Finals. East n West Finals should also be entertaining.

    • GABEPERKINS1

      Bucks smashed the clippers both times they played them.. it’s gonna be lakers bucks in the finals.. playoff lebron takes it to another level.. lakers have championship experience.. lebron, javale, rondo, green, Dwight, Quinn cook.. all been to the finals.. clippers have kawai.. pg seems to struggle in the big lights..

  8. WhitehouseReptiles

    How underwhelming. When stacked against the Clips, Lakers lack quality depth. Cap space problems and lack of draft picks will keep them from title. Would like to see Steve Ballmer buy the team. Oh wait. Never mind.

  9. harden-westbrook-mvps

    They have a headline on ESPN asking the ridiculous question: Will JR Smith boost the LA Lakers toward their next NBA title? How absurd is that…..

  10. KnickerbockerAl

    Losing Howard will hurt Lakers. Rockets right now are 6th seed. Best thing for them is getting 4th or 5th seed. It is within reach too. They are not beating Clippers. But I think they have a good shot against Lakers. Love to see them knockout Lakers lol. I wish they would have signed a real C.

    • GABEPERKINS1

      If Howard doesn’t play, cousins is healthy.. not a bad fallback option.

  11. Sillivan

    Shumpert wants market salary

    Rockets want pay cut player

    Why didn’t Lakers sign him?

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