Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Andre Iguodala Trade and JR Smith

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 16, 2019

Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala gestures after scoring during the second half in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, April 26, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 129-110. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers never stray far from the rumor mill.

That might be as true as ever now that the Purple and Gold employ both LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

As the Lakers bear down for what they hope will be a fruitful 2019-20 season, the latest buzz surrounds one player within their sights and one who apparently is not.

                 

Lakers Among Crowded Field of Suitors for Former Finals MVP

Andre Iguodala isn't long for the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies, and the entire NBA knows it. That's why teams with even a smattering of championship hopes have kept close watch of the 2015 Finals MVP.

The Los Angeles Lakers are part of that group, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. Of course, so are the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.

The asking price is reportedly a future first-round pick, per Stein, and there's a belief the Grizzlies would enter the season with Iguodala if they're unable to acquire it. Now, wanting a pick and being offered one are two different things. But if clubs were hoping Memphis would just give him away—or, even better, buy him out—it doesn't sound like that's happening, at least not any time soon.

While the Lakers have added a few perimeter stoppers—namely, Danny Green and Avery Bradley—they don't have a lockdown defender who matches Iguodala's caliber. Few teams do. The 35-year-old ranked sixth among all small forwards in ESPN.com's defensive real plus-minus, and he did so while pacing himself to play his best basketball in the postseason.

James is intimately familiar with Iguodala's stopping prowess, since he was the Golden State Warriors' preferred LeBron stopper over their four consecutive championship-round collisions. If not for his impact on James in the 2015 series (39.8 percent shooting), Iguodala probably never takes home his most coveted piece of individual hardware.

It would be easy for the Lakers to talk themselves into adding Iguodala, but again, that's true of most contenders.

For now, Stadium's Shams Charania has the Rockets and Clippers "strongly pursuing" the swingman, although he reports the clubs "seem to be at a standstill" in trade talks. The Rockets are wary of adding to their luxury tax bill, and the Clippers don't want to part with Maurice Harkless.

That potentially opens the door for the Lakers to pounce, but only if they're willing to pay what the Grizzlies deem an acceptable price.

                 

JR Smith 'Unlikely' To Land With Lakers

The JR Smith era is over in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers waived the veteran shooting guard Monday before his $15.6 million contract became guaranteed for next season. He spent four-plus seasons in Northeast Ohio, where he slotted alongside James during the franchise's four consecutive Finals runs.

Might a King-Swish reunion be in the works, then? Don't count on it.

League sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers are "an unlikely destination" for Smith after he clears waivers.

That makes sense on a lot of levels, not the least of which is that Smith appears barely useful at this stage of his career. He's had single-digit player efficiency ratings, per Basketball-Reference, each of the last three seasons—league average is 15.0—and the few times he suited up in 2018-19 were dreadful. Before being exiled in November, he posted an abysmal 34.2/30.8/80.0 shooting slash across 11 contests.

Maybe his experience and past shooting success will convince a contender to take a gamble, but the Lakers are right for seemingly not wanting to take the plunge.

Beyond his declining play, he wouldn't address any areas of need with this roster. The Lakers signed fellow shooting guards Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Troy Daniels in free agency. Adding Smith would only muddle what's already a crowded rotation.

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