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Report: Los Angeles Lakers Not Likely to Pursue J.R. Smith After Buyout
- Updated: July 15, 2019
A new report indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers don’t figure to be the team that ultimately signs the veteran.
Once guard JR Smith clears waivers, the Los Angeles Lakers are an unlikely destination, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 15, 2019
The Lakers had been one of the more prominent teams mentioned because of the presence of former Cavaliers forward LeBron James. When Smith was acquired by the Cavs from the New York Knicks in January 2015, James’ positive input about him was a key factor in helping clinch the transaction.
Smith was released by the Cavaliers after the team was unable to find a trading partner. He’d been exiled by the team since November after he accused the its front office of deliberately tanking the 2018-19 season in order to acquire a high draft pick.
One of the aspects of trading Smith that was thought to be an asset for the Cavaliers was the fact that the $15.68 million he was due for final year of his four-year contract was originally guaranteed for only $3.87 million.
With the original deadline to trade Smith looming, the Cavaliers agreed to pay him an additional $500,000 to extend the deadline another month. After it apparently became clear that no deal was forthcoming, the decision to release him was made.
Though Smith has been released, there’s no guarantee that another team will actually sign him to a deal. His age and declining numbers the past few years, coupled with past off-the-court issues, will most likely garner him a veteran’s minimum deal at best.