NBA News & Notes: Lakers Ink Deal With Smith
Each and every day now, we’re getting new NBA news. And after months of a full pause of no updates or player transactions, it is more than welcome. Several players that have ties to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a new signee or former experience are making the big headlines.
Smith’s Career Continues
The 2018-19 Cavs roster didn’t make much sense when the year began. They were giving minutes to long-time vets JR Smith and Kyle Korver, rather than put their younger guys on the floor. Korver was sent to Utah, and Smith actually asked to be freed from the team. So, he got paid to be away from the group.
Any which way, Smith is finally back, and may actually be facing Korver’s new team in the Finals. The Lakers agreed to a deal with Smith, coming on the heels of the news that Avery Bradley will not be playing in the reboot.
In small sample sizes last year, Smith showed that he can still make shots and defend at a high level. The Lakers do have four shooting guards with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, Dion Waiters and Smith, so the minute distribution is going to be something to monitor. But if he can make shots, he will be in.
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Many folks will point to his blunder in the 2018 NBA Finals as a significant shortcoming and a reason he can’t be trusted. But he thrived far more often than not and is a welcome addition to this team. It’s great to see Smith in the league again.
Drummond Looking to Stay?
The Cavaliers made waves around the league when they traded two struggling expired contracts in exchange for multi-time All-Star big man Andre Drummond. Basically, John Henson and Brandon Knight are pennies on the dollar, and they were dealt for a top-tier big. The Cavs are not known for these splashy trades.
He has already opted in to his contract for next year, a $28 million player option. This may be about the money, but it also shows he is happy in Cleveland. The two sides both seem interested in negotiating a long-term deal as well, which would keep the 26-year-old in Cleveland for the years to come.
He only appeared in eight games this season, but he showed flashes of being a great fit. He is a guy that Cavs fans will grow to love, as he has enjoyed the fans.
Cavs Fill Two Roster Spots
Playing on a two-way contract this year after going undrafted, Dean Wade spent most of the year with the Canton Charge. There were only one or two games in which he got actual playing time in non-blowout situations, but he proved himself valuable.
He was a hard worker in practice who is a big man that can step out and knock the three down. He has now signed a multi-year extension and will have a normal roster spot for the start of next year.
A former Warriors big man who played for a few teams this year, Jordan Bell, has also signed a two-year deal with the team. With there being uncertainty surrounding Tristan Thompson, he could fill the void at the backup center position.
Bell was traded by the Bulls to the Warriors for money on draft night, and he responded by getting off to a strong start in Golden State. He is a solid two-way player that still has a lot of potential. On a mostly young team, he is going to fit right in.
He’ll be joining his old teammate Alfonzo McKinnie with the Cavs next year. Perhaps the Cavs, who also had Patrick McCaw and Andrew Bogut at one point, will be the new Warriors.