LeBron James has a new teammate – and he’s a familiar one.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday the signing of veteran NBA shooting guard J.R. Smith. He will join the team as they head to Orlando, Fla. to play in the “bubble” later this month.
Smith, who has not played in the NBA since early on in the 2018-19 season, will essentially serve as a replacement for Avery Bradley. The former Boston Celtics guard opted out of the NBA’s Orlando re-start.
“The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard JR Smith as a Substitute Player for the NBA season restart, it was announced today by Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released,” the Lakers announced.
Smith played a major role in the Cavs’ 2015-16 NBA championship season. LeBron James is excited for his arrival in Los Angeles.
“Yessir bro!” LeBron wrote on Instagram. “Right back at it like we never left.”
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel explained to reporters that Smith’s experience playing with LeBron in Cleveland is a big positive.
“That was a factor: his familiarity with LeBron and the way we built our team, obviously around LeBron,” Vogel said to reporters. “There’s a lot of similarities to the things they did in Cleveland. That definitely is a factor in what we feel J.R. can bring to the table in what is going to be a very short time to get acclimated.”
Smith shot 40 percent from the 3-point line during the Cavs’ 2016 season, when they upset the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Will LeBron win another NBA championship with J.R. Smith later this year?