The Los Angeles Clippers are one of a handful of teams vying for free-agent guard J.R. Smith, who will be eligible to return to the NBA on Wednesday after his Chinese team’s season concludes, according to a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking.
The Clippers were interested in Smith even before the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups last week, believing they could use more offensive firepower off the bench. That was going to be a harder sell to Smith, who is looking for a larger role. Now, they can offer Smith the opportunity to start.
Like Billups did with recently-signed Kenyon Martin, point guard Chris Paul has taken a lead role in recruiting Smith, according to the source. The two are close from their two seasons as teammates with the Hornets.
— Reported by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles
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