The Los Angeles Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline — in part because they did not want to meet the Knicks’ asking price for Morris — and now will be looking to the buyout market and the possible return of Darren Collison, to add playmaking and shooting to the roster for a playoff run.
And maybe J.R. Smith, too. That according to Mark Stein of the New York Times.
The Lakers are expected to give free agent guard JR Smith a post-trade deadline audition (perhaps as soon as next week) and remain favorites to sign Darren Collison if Collison elects to make a comeback to the NBA — in addition to potential pickups on the buyout market
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 6, 2020
Yes, this J.R. Smith.
We’ve known this was coming for a while. As for that play above (and any other Smith antics), Smith wouldn’t get in the practice building if this did not get at least a tentative thumbs up from LeBron James, although going through a workout and making the roster are different things.
Does Smith fit the playmaker/shooter role the Lakers would like to fill? In the second half of his career, Smtih evolved into a high volume shooter and scorer, which won him Sixth Man of the Year but is not necessarily a fit with the Lakers right now. Also, last season, Smith, 34, played just 11 games for the Cavaliers — none after November — and struggled with his shot, hitting 30.8 percent from three and he had a dreadful true shooting percentage of 44.4 (he is a career 37.3 percent shooter from three). Smith asked to be traded, but the Cavaliers could not find a taker. Cleveland waived Smith in July and he has been without a contract since.
The guy that would help the Lakers is Darren Collison, who is expected to announce his decision on a return after the All-Star break. Collison averaged 11.6 points and six assists a game, plus he shot 40.7 percent from three for the Pacers last season, but rather than become a free agent — there was considerable demand for his services — he decided to retire.
Collison is reconsidering that decision. If he returns, the Lakers are considered strong frontrunners, according to sources around the league. Collison played the 2013-14 season with the Clippers under Doc Rivers and that reportedly did not end on the best of terms.
The Lakers are expected to be active on the buyout market as well.
Will that be enough in a West where the margins between the Lakers and Clippers — and the Nuggets and Jazz, as well — are very slim? The Magic 8 Ball says, “Ask again later.”