It has been more than a month since the NBA Finals ended, and nearly two months since J.R. Smith forgot what the score was and dribbled out most of the clock after grabbing a key offensive rebound against Golden State with the score tied near the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Folks in Cleveland will never forgive him, they may not have to endure him much longer.
Zach Lowe of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Houston Rockets are “kicking the tires” on one of the NBA’s most enigmatic players, and there is no doubt they could use another shooter after losing Trevor Ariza in free agency.
But is J.R. the type of guy you want to spin the roulette wheel on?
Let’s not forget: At the end of Game 4 in Cleveland after the Cavaliers had been swept, LeBron James disclosed that he had seriously injured his right hand punching a blackboard in Oakland out of frustration over Smith’s mistake.
That broken hand is now the property of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the blackboard itself will probably show up on eBay sometime in the future.
The Cavs have retained their second-best player by re-signing Kevin Love, and it remains to be seen whether they would rather keep Smith around or let him take his hit-or-miss act elsewhere. If Smith winds up with the Rockets, he would be reunited with former New York Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony signed with Houston after being traded by Oklahoma City to Atlanta, where the Hawks quickly waived him. He was spotted at Team USA camp in Las Vegas last week, although he was not working out with the American national team.
Smith will be entering his 16th NBA season, having already played for New Orleans, Denver, New York and Cleveland.
A streaky shooter, Smith is coming off a season in which he shot .375 from behind the arc, more or less matching his career average from downtown. His best season came in 2008-09 when he averaged 15.2 points for the Denver Nuggets and shot .446 from behind the arc.
He has appeared in 130 career postseason games, including 79 with the Cavaliers over the past four seasons as Cleveland made it all the ways to the NBA Finals each time, winning once and losing three times.
If he does end up with the Rockets, he will join a veteran team that already includes James Harden and Chris Paul and is coached by Mike D’Antoni.