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

    Tucker Talks Defense and Matching Up vs. Warriors

    Houston Rockets logo
    Houston Rockets

    Tucker Talks Defense and Matching Up vs. Warriors

    The Dream Shake
    via The Dream Shake

    Chris Bosh: Heat Big 3 Made KD Leave OKC for GSW

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Chris Bosh: Heat Big 3 Made KD Leave OKC for GSW

    Megan Armstrong
    via Bleacher Report

    Morant Shows Stuff of March Madness Legends

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Morant Shows Stuff of March Madness Legends

    Kerry Miller
    via Bleacher Report

    Top Landing Spots for Morant in the Draft

    How early would you take Ja on draft night?

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Top Landing Spots for Morant in the Draft

    How early would you take Ja on draft night?

    Jonathan Wasserman
    via Bleacher Report