Report: J.R. Smith emerging as “leading” candidate to replace Avery Bradley on Lakers’ roster

J.R. Smith
May 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13), guard J.R. Smith (5), forward LeBron James (23) and guard Iman Shumpert (4) react from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Hawks in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers will be without Avery Bradley if the NBA season does resume this July. That means they have an open roster spot for the remainder of the season that they can fill with a free agent.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, free agent guard J.R. Smith is the leading candidate to be signed by the purple and gold to help them in their chase for a title. Smith famously won a championship alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 but he has not played at all this season and only appeared in 11 games last year.

Smith worked out for the Lakers prior to the season shutdown due to Coronavirus alongside Dion Waiters but the team ultimately signed Waiters who had appeared in just a few games with the Heat this season.

The 33-year-old is not the player he once was but he can provide hot shooting at times and can be decent defensively when focused. He also has the advantage of playing alongside LeBron and knowing how to work off of him.

With the abrupt training camp period leading up to the season resumption, the Lakers won’t have much of a chance to review other players before signing a replacement for Bradley. Smith already has worked out for the team and they are familiar with his abilities. It would make sense for the team to look towards Smith as an emergency signing, even if he likely won’t play much. Smith would only be eligible to sign a deal for the rest of the season with the Lakers.

One of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso or Rajon Rondo is expected to take Bradley’s place in the starting lineup.

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