Lakers Rumors: JR Smith 'Unlikely' to Join LA After Being Waived by Cavaliers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers' JR Smith drives against the Phoenix Suns in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are "an unlikely destination" for veteran swingman JR Smith once he becomes a free agent, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Cleveland Cavaliers waived Smith on Monday after they failed to find a trade to shed his partially guaranteed contract for the 2019-20 season.

Even if he's willing to sign for the veteran's minimum, Smith may not have a robust free-agent market.

He made only 11 appearances for the Cavs in 2018-19, averaging 6.7 points while shooting 30.8 percent from three-point range. The Cavs, who are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, announced in November that Smith was leaving the team to help facilitate his departure from Cleveland.

The Lakers in particular appear to be a poor fit for Smith. They already have a number of veterans who can play either the 2 or the 3, having added Avery Bradley, Jared Dudley and Danny Green and re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this offseason. Smith wouldn't be a clear upgrade over any of those players.

In addition, Lakers star LeBron James likely hasn't forgotten Smith's gaffe in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

With the game tied in the final seconds, Smith rebounded the ball and dribbled out to the perimeter rather than attempting a go-ahead shot close to the basket. James' reaction became an instant meme.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported James punched a blackboard in frustration after Game 1, which caused him to injure his hand.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said the Lakers plan to keep a roster spot open into training camp and potentially the start of the 2019-20 season to have flexibility to address their remaining holes. If Smith is looking to latch on somewhere quickly, the Lakers likely won't be an option.

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