The Los Angeles Lakers shouldn’t feel the need to reach back into LeBron James’ past in 2019 NBA free agency to set him up for success in the future.
Entering the NBA’s 2019 free agency period, the Los Angeles Lakers are again the league’s most interesting and talked-about team.
Now the attention turns to L.A.’s next steps and how it will fill out a roster that needs more than just two superstars and Kyle Kuzma to become a real championship contender rather than just a top-heavy marquee attraction.
This week, it’s been reported that J.R. Smith could wind up in L.A. — if the Cleveland Cavaliers trade the former Sixth Man of the Year and he’s eventually waived following a buyout of the $15.6 million on his contract for next season.
Adding Smith makes some sense for the Lakers. He’s a veteran shooter and good athlete who has big-game experience, helping the Cavs win a championship in 2016. He also happens to be one of LeBron’s favorite teammates from their time together in Cleveland.
With no comment from LeBron on the possible Smith addition, one can only speculate on how he feels about another go-round with his former teammate. Does LeBron still trust Smith like he used to?
One of their last games together was Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, when Smith made the infamous gaffe of forgetting the score at the end of regulation that cost the Cavs a chance at victory. It was a legacy-defining moment for J.R., and getting swept in that series was a bad look for LeBron.
Smith isn’t the only former teammate of LeBron’s who could be available to the Lakers in free agency this summer. Some of them could be good fits. Others definitely would not.
Here are three ex-teammates of LeBron’s that Los Angeles would be smart to avoid.