THE LOS ANGELES Lakers are finalizing a deal with guard JR Smith to add him to their roster for this month’s season restart in Orlando, Florida., multiple outlets reported Monday.
According to ESPN, the Lakers have been in talks with Smith since Avery Bradley opted out of the restart last week in order to stay with his family.
The National Basketball Association transaction window closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, with teams required to submit their final rosters by Wednesday.
Smith, 34, has not played in the NBA since an 11-game stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the start of the 2018–2019 season, when he accused the team of tanking before eventually parting ways.
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 One 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. 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.
DINWIDDIE TESTS POSITIVE
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Nets standout guard Spencer Dinwiddie has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, he told The Athletic on Monday.
Dinwiddie told the publication he may not be able to play when the NBA season resumes.
Dinwiddie said he will remain in quarantine and be reevaluated in 14 days.
The 27-year-old is averaging career bests of 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 64 games (49 starts) during his sixth NBA season.
The news about Dinwiddle comes one day after Brooklyn forward Wilson Chandler announced he won’t play in the restarted season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. Chandler cited a desire to remain with his family. Guard Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) and Small Forward Kevin Durant (Achilles) also won’t participate. — Reuters