Lakers Are Signing JR Smith and it's Probably Not Going to Work Out for Them

JR Smith
JR Smith is the newest Los Angeles Laker | Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time filling up their roster spot vacated by Avery Bradley after he opted out of the NBA's restart, and they plugged that hole with a veteran role player who clearly is still valued by LeBron James.

The Lakers have signed JR Smith, a 34-year-old veteran who was a part of a Cleveland Cavaliers team that helped James finally give his hometown team a championship.

Smith has played in just 11 games over the last two years, as he quit on the moribund 2018-19 Cavs before sitting on his couch at home for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.

This signing isn't a complete waste, as James is clearly comfortable with him despite his infamous Finals gaffe. Smith can still shoot from deep efficiently (at least we think), but the Lakers replaced an elite defender and mild-mannered personality with a poor defender who once threw soup at an assistant coach. Smith, at this point in his career, is certainly a downgrade.

Smith might be a comparable or better 3-point shooter when pitted against Bradley, but LA is going to miss that perimeter defense. Smith simply isn't going to be an adequate replacement in that department. Look for LeBron and Anthony Davis to play more hero ball in the 2020 playoffs.