NBA 2018-19: Why the Lakers signing JR Smith is a bad idea
After being granted a trade by the Cleveland Cavaliers, J.R. Smith was immediately linked with a move to Los Angeles. The 33-year-old teamed up with LeBron James in Ohio and despite the issues between James and Smith during the 2018 NBA Finals, James reportedly remains a big supporter of the shooting guard.
Over the last few months, the Lakers have focused on signing a number of veterans, which has so far yielded mixed results. Rajon Rondo's most notable moment came when he 'spat' at Chris Paul, whereas Michael Beasley has barely featured at all. On the other hand, JaVale McGee has been excellent, and the recent addition of Tyson Chandler also looks to be a good pick up.
Smith represents another quick fix who is not guaranteed serious game-time. Los Angeles is already stacked with these type of players, and it is questionable whether the Lakers really need JR Smith when they already have Lance Stephenson leading from the bench.
There is also the question over whether the Lakers would want to deal with another player who is prone to outbursts and disturbances on the court. The organization has already attracted negative attention due to the huge fight that erupted after Brandon Ingram pushed James Harden. The incident resulted in bans for both Ingram and Rondo, and adding JR Smith could add further issues to an already somewhat volatile dressing room.
The Cavaliers will probably want little in return for Smith, however, the Lakers would still have to take on the 33-year-old's bad contract. He is owed $14,720,000 for the 18/19 season, with a further $3,870,000 guaranteed for next season. The Lakers are trying to clear cap space, and the logistics of this deal should not appeal to the franchise. Magic Johnson would be wise to avoid JR Smith and instead focus on developing the young core of the squad.