The Rockets waived four players today — Mike Harris, Alexander Johnson, Antonio Anderson and Jerel McNeal (who was to join the team when they got back from China, and they got back today). Houston had to make the moves by Thursday, but felt it was best to do it now.
Rockets coach Rick Adelman called them “tough cuts.”
“They all can play and I think they can play in the league and we told them that. It’s just one of those things where we just have no room. All three of those guys deserve to be on the team,” said Adelman, referring to Harris, Johnson and Anderson.
The move means that the winner of the 15th roster spot is undrafted rookie point guard Ish Smith out of Wake Forest.
Adelman dished out serious praise for Smith, calling him the best passer on the team.
“He’s got that instinct,” said Adelman. “He’s got the ability when he gets around his guy, which he does all the time, that the game slows down for him. He sees the game. That’s unique. Some guys don’t slow down. He does.”
It was Smith’s consistency that seemed to win over his new coach.
“He’s been terrific every time we’ve used him,” said Adelman. “He’s never backed down. He pushes the guys in practice. We knew he could play but he’s been very consistent.”