Free agent guard JR Smith signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for the rest of the season, the team announced Wednesday.
Terms of the deal were not released.
The Lakers and Smith reportedly discussed a deal since starting guard Avery Bradley opted out of the season restart in order to stay with his family.
“In terms of what he brings to the table, just the experience factor,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Wednesday. “I mean, this guy is a big-time player. He’s proven it over the course of his career. We know he can help us.
“We almost added him earlier in the year when we added Dion Waiters and now we have the luxury of having both. We’re not going to ask him to come in and be Avery Bradley. He’s going to come in and be JR Smith. He’s going to just fill that position, more than fill that role.”
Smith, 34, has not played in the NBA since an 11-game stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the start of the 2018-19 season, when he accused the team of tanking before eventually parting ways.
His last full season came in 2017-18 with the Cavaliers, when he averaged 8.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 80 games (61 starts) in LeBron James’ final season before he left to join the Lakers. In Game 1 of the NBA Finals that year, Smith infamously lost track of the score in a gaffe that ultimately led to Cleveland losing to Golden State in overtime. Across 14-plus seasons, Smith has career averages of 12.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 971 games (395 starts).
NBA teams will travel to Orlando between July 7-9 to begin training camps before restarting the season July 30.
The Lakers will play their first game that day against the Los Angeles Clippers. When the season was halted on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers held a 5.5-game lead over the Clippers in the Western Conference standings.
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