The Los Angeles Lakers have money to spend but no veteran star to splurge on this NBA offseason. However, it looks like their search is over as a JR Smith contract might be on its way soon. Can Luke Walton turn the former Cleveland Cavaliers star into the next Kobe Bryant for D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson? That is, can JR Smith become a powerful mentor to the young basketball stars?
The journey of JR Smith in the NBA has been a challenging one. Following a disappointing run with the New York Knicks, he sought redemption with the Cleveland Cavaliers - a mission that reinforced his superior standing in the league as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love rave over his skills. However, it looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers are not impressed enough to immediately sign him and give in to his demands.
Rumors are rife that salary concerns hinder the Cleveland Cavaliers and JR Smith from reuniting for another NBA season. Can the Los Angeles Lakers satisfy the demands of the star? While fans of the D'Angelo Russell team are divided when it comes to a JR Smith contract, some feel that he could grow more under the leadership of Luke Walton who could give him more responsibilities on and off the hardwood court.
"We communicate on and off the court as much as possible," shared D'Angelo Russell of his relationship with Luke Walton. He added, "I feel like I can call him all the time. He's not like a head coach that will sit back and watch as other coaches and colleagues train other players. He's always involved. He'll get out there and play with you if he wants. It's just great having a young coach like him in the building."
At this point, no official comment has been released by the parties concerned. However, fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers are still optimistic for a JR Smith return for the next NBA season. With the 2015-16 NBA champions intact, the Kyrie Irving team could achieve a back to back title win.
Meanwhile, LeBron James himself appears to be campaigning to seal the JR Smith contract once and for all. In a recent Instagram post to greet the former New York Knicks star during his birthday, King James subtly hinted at the return of his teammate.
"Happy Bday to my brother @teamswish!! Not a day goes by and I don't think of you kid! Proud of the man you've become over the years," wrote LeBron James.
He added, "Since day 1 when you were coming to Akron when u were still in HS to work with me I've always believed in you. Quite frankly more than u believed in yourself at times and I've never wavered cause i knew what you were all about. Loyal, caring, driven, misunderstood, passionate, trustworthy, etc etc etc. Most importantly TRUE!! Enjoy your day to the fullest and know i can't wait to get back to work on that court with u as my wing backcourt mate!! Let's go. #Automatic #Worrkkkk #Swisher #RocketLauncher #Champion"
What do you think? Should the Los Angeles Lakers push for a JR Smith contract? Or will the Cleveland Cavaliers be a better spot for the former New York Knicks star?