After waiving reserve wingman Troy Daniels over the weekend, the Los Angeles Lakers now have room for one more player to add as they continue their quest to win an NBA championship this season. That player, as a new report suggests, could be J.R. Smith, who last played well over a year ago for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has remained a free agent for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
As cited by Bleacher Report, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers gave Smith a workout on Monday, thus giving him a chance to reunite with former Cavaliers teammate LeBron James on another championship-caliber squad. Ganguli noted that Smith's "familiarity" with the four-time MVP and shooting ability are considered "pluses," and as separately reported by The Athletic's Shams Charania, the 34-year-old guard is willing to accept any role if he gets a chance to play for the Lakers this season.
According to Bleacher Report, there are a few reasons why adding Smith to the Lakers might not be the best idea. The outlet wrote that there is "no evidence" to suggest he could be better than Daniels, especially since he hasn't seen action in the NBA since November 2018 and wasn't playing too well at that time. Per Basketball-Reference, Smith was averaging just 6.7 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 11 games and shooting 34.2 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range prior to his deactivation and eventual release from the Cavaliers.
"Recent history suggests Smith is a net-negative player in every respect," Bleacher Report added.Although Smith has a chance to give the Lakers a tried-and-tested presence off the bench and improve their floor spacing with his long-range shooting, he's not the only candidate to fill in the 15th spot on the team's roster.
Dion Waiters, who last played for the Miami Heat and also has experience playing alongside James during their time in Cleveland, has been frequently mentioned as a potential buyout market target, and rumors have suggested that the Lakers plan to take a good look at him to see if he fits their needs as a post-trade deadline acquisition. Despite his recent history of off-court issues, he was described as being "exponentially more salvageable" than Smith due to his better performance in recent campaigns.
Aside from Smith and Waiters, the Lakers could have other options to consider in the coming days, Ganguli added. Bleacher Report quoted her as writing that the organization is in "no rush" to fill its roster vacancy, which could open the door for other players to head to Los Angeles and try out for the Purple and Gold.