Please select your default edition
Your default site has been set for 7 days

Los Angeles Lakers sign JR Smith ahead of NBA restart

Thursday 2 July 2020 06:59, UK

Channing Frye believes ex-teammate J.R. Smith would boost LeBron James' chances of lifting another NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers. 0:57
Channing Frye believes ex-team-mate JR Smith would boost LeBron James' chances of lifting another NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers

Free-agent guard JR Smith has signed a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers until the end of the NBA season, the team have confirmed.

The Lakers and Smith had reportedly been in talks since guard Avery Bradley opted out of the restart last week in order to stay with his family.

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.

JR Smith
Image: The Lakers will become the sixth NBA franchise Smith has represented

His last full season came in 2017-18 with the Cavs, 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 players already have reported to their teams and begun testing for the coronavirus, with mandatory individual workouts beginning Wednesday.

More on this story

Teams will travel to Orlando between July 7-9 to begin training camps before restarting the season on 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.

The Lakers hope Dwight Howard (right) will join up with the team when they fly out to Orlando
Image: The Lakers hope Dwight Howard (right) will join up with the team when they fly out to Orlando

The team remain hopeful that centre Dwight Howard will be with the team in Orlando and head coach Frank Vogel insists they will not seek a replacement for the player.

Howard has not made a final decision as he contemplates family matters amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the Lakers have not ruled out having the player available when the league resumes.

"We don't know what the level of participation is going to be yet," Vogel said.

"He wants to play. We don't have any intention of replacing Dwight's roster spot. When we leave [for Orlando next week], he'll hopefully be able to join us."

Want to watch even more of the NBA but don't have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here