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The Lakers will sign J.R. Smith on Tuesday

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LeBron James and J.R. Smith will try to go to the NBA Finals together again, this time as members of the Lakers.

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Photoshop via Hector Diaz/SB Nation

LeBron James hasn’t been to the NBA Finals since he had J.R. Smith as a teammate, so maybe it’s with that in mind that the Lakers have decided they want the pipe. According to multiple reports, the Lakers are expected to add Smith to replace Avery Bradley when they head to Disney World for the resumed NBA season.

The Lakers will not have to cut Bradley to make room on the roster, and will be able to use a temporary replacement spot for Smith for the remainder of the season:

Smith almost instantaneously became the heavily reported favorite to join the Lakers’ roster as soon as Bradley decided to sit out of the NBA’s restart out of concern for the health of his son, and his agent, Rich Paul — who also represents James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dion Waiters and Talen Horton-Tucker on the Lakers — reportedly began talking to Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka immediately following Bradley’s decision.

Smith most recently played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2018-19 season, the better part of two years ago, but only played 11 games before being sent away from the team as they sought a trade (they ultimately waived him last summer). Smith averaged 8.3 points per game the year before (his last full season), shooting 37.5% from behind the arc as the Cavs made it to the Finals.

The Lakers had interest in Smith back around the trade deadline, working him out as they decided between him and Waiters at the time. They ultimately went with Waiters then, but Smith reportedly did impress the front office and told them he’d accept any role. It seems like that familiarity and previous prep work may have been a benefit for him here.

NBA teams will resume mandatory individual workouts on July 1, and travel to Orlando for the restart the following week. The season is slated to begin again on July 30.

This developing story will update with more information.

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