NBA Trade Rumors: JR Smith Drawing 'Exploratory Interest' from Rockets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith (5) makes a pass as the team practiced basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, June 7, 2018, in Cleveland. The Warriors lead the series 3-0 with Game 4 on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets are looking to close the gap with the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference and are reportedly interested in adding someone who played in the last four NBA Finals.   

On Monday, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Houston has "expressed exploratory interest in acquiring JR Smith."

Stein noted Smith is "on hiatus" from the Cleveland Cavaliers as they continue to look for a trade partner.

Houston leads the league with 42.2 three-point attempts per night under head coach Mike D'Antoni, which could make Smith a good fit. James Harden and Chris Paul consistently draw additional defenders with their penetration and offensive abilities, and Smith could play off them and hit open looks off passes.

After his time alongside LeBron James, Smith is accustomed to playing with someone who attracts additional attention and kicks out.

The Rockets no longer have Trevor Ariza to knock down shots, but Smith could provide another capable option after he connected on 37.5 percent of his triples last season.

Smith is also a playoff-tested veteran with 130 postseason games on his resume. He helped the Cavaliers make it to the Finals in each of the last four years, drilling 43 percent of his playoff three-pointers in 2016 for the eventual champions and 50 percent of his playoff three-pointers in 2017.

While Smith won't carry an offense single-handedly, he is well-suited to play alongside Harden and Paul and will be comfortable under the spotlight should Houston advance far in the playoffs again. Moving him would also make sense for the Cavaliers, who are looking to accelerate their rebuild by flipping veterans for young players and/or draft assets.

Related

    Beal: 'We're Going to Make the Playoffs'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Beal: 'We're Going to Make the Playoffs'

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    LeBron Rips Refs for Foul Call

    NBA logo
    NBA

    LeBron Rips Refs for Foul Call

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    LaVine: Teams 'Lick Their Chops' When They See Bulls on Schedule

    NBA logo
    NBA

    LaVine: Teams 'Lick Their Chops' When They See Bulls on Schedule

    Paul Kasabian
    via Bleacher Report

    Embiid on Playing Through Back Injury: 'I'm a Warrior'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Embiid on Playing Through Back Injury: 'I'm a Warrior'

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report