J.R. Smith is still a free agent with only a few weeks before training camps open for the 2019-20 NBA season.
That fact isn’t lost on former Cleveland Cavaliers assistant coach, Phil Handy, as well as Smith’s ex-teammates, who strongly believe that he deserves another shot at competing at the highest level.
Handy, currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, posted an encouraging message on Instagram about how good Smith is both as a player and as a teammate.
Misperception of players is one thing that has always bothered me. As coaches sometimes we have to really dive into relationships and get to know who players are not what we hear or read. None of us are perfect! @teamswish is a @nba #champion bonafide #sniper a good teammate and just a dude even tho you from jersey 🤣. Keep working fam your services will be needed! We family for life! #lakewood #swish #wetball #nbachampions #kingstepback #realone #BYOG
Smith has a reputation for being too emotional which teams may be more wary of than anything. His reputation was sullied further by a boneheaded play in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.
With only four seconds left in regulation, the veteran guard curiously dribbled out the clock with the game tied, 107-107. He mistakenly thought that his Cavs team was leading the Golden State Warriors. That costly mistake had serious repercussions as Cleveland lost the game in overtime.
Nevertheless, Smith is an NBA champion and a key member of the Cavs’ title team. He was instrumental in giving the Cavaliers its first championship when he nailed crucial baskets in the third quarter of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals.
A team with championship aspirations should consider giving one of the best 3-point marksmen in the game another chance.