J.R. Smith will be released by the Cleveland Cavaliers after four-plus seasons with the franchise. While some have connected Smith to a reunion with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. That appears increasingly unlikely.
On Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that when Smith clears waivers, the Lakers are not a likely destination:
The 33-year-old Smith has seen his production drop precipitously over the past few seasons. During the 2015-16 season he averaged 12.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game. In just 11 games during the 2018-19 season before the Cavs shut him down, he averaged just 6.7 points, 1.6 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game. He hit just 30.8 percent of his 3-point shots compared to 40.0 percent during the 2015-16 season as well.
Smith isn’t the player he once was and mentally he’s never really been a valuable addition. I’m not sure there will be much of a market for him and the Lakers certainly have no use for his services, given the quality role players they added in free agency.
While many of us were hoping for a James/Smith reunion simply because of the drama it would bring, but that doesn’t look like it’ll happen.