JR Smith signs deal with Lakers for season restart

The Los Angeles Lakers and veteran guard JR Smith are set to begin their union after he signed his deal as a substitute player on Wednesday. Smith will join the Lakers’ roster for the season comeback in Orlando and will wear No. 21.

As of Monday, the Lakers and Smith were reportedly in discussions with each other after guard Avery Bradley announced last week that he was opting out of the season restart. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers were in the final stages of contract negotiations with Smith.

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The 34-year-old guard hasn’t played in the NBA since 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when he logged six minutes in a 113-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 19. He worked out for the Lakers in early March as the team was looking to add to its roster, but ultimately opted to sign Dion Waiters to a deal instead of him.

Smith teamed with James in Cleveland from 2014-18 and proved, at times, to be a critical piece for the Cavaliers in their run to The Finals each of those seasons. In Game 7 of the 2016 Finals, Smith finished with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting (2-for-8 on 3-pointers) as Cleveland won the NBA title. Things went down hill for Smith after James left the Cavs to sign with the Lakers before the 2018-19 season.

He played in just 11 games that season and stepped away from the team in hopes of being traded or released. He was ultimately waived by the Cavs last summer and has been awaiting a new team since then.

Smith has appeared in 130 career playoff games for the Nuggets, Knicks and Cavaliers, totaling 11.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg and 1.0 spg. He ranks ninth all-time in postseason three-pointers made and fourth all-time in three-pointers made in The Finals.

source: nba.com

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