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Lakers Rumors: JR Smith Interests LA as Shooter Despite Dion Waiters Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2020

Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith (5) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly remain interested in free-agent shooting guard JR Smith despite the addition of Dion Waiters.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday the Lakers "continue to monitor the market for a shooter" but would have to release a player to create roster space for Smith.

The 34-year-old New Jersey native won an NBA championship alongside Lakers superstar LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. He's gone unsigned since the Cavs waived him in July.

Smith was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year for the 2012-13 season with the New York Knicks. He averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 threes across 80 appearances that year.

His production has since decreased pretty steadily, however, and bottomed out last season with Cleveland. He shot just 34.2 percent from the field in 11 games before the team announced he'd leave the organization while it sought a trade. He ultimately sat out the remainder of the campaign.

"Technically my whole career's been in limbo, so this is easy for me," Smith told reporters after being waived in July while confirming he didn't plan to retire.

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The Lakers own the best record in the Western Conference at 47-13, but they've continued to look for upgrades to their perimeter offense ahead of the playoffs.

Waiters is a lottery ticket. He's flashed the potential of being an impact player since the Cavaliers selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, highlighted by averaging 15.8 points while shooting 39.5 percent from three with the Miami Heat in 2016-17, but he's also dealt with off-court problems.

Smith would be ticketed for a similar fringe role. Neither guard would receive significant minutes when the Lakers are at full strength.

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