As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, Josh Smith will be a Houston Rocket. The 6-foot-9 forward was shockingly cut by the Detroit Pistons earlier this week and will clear waivers at 5:00pm Eastern Time today, paving the way for him to sign with the Rockets.
As discussed in the podcast on Monday, this seemed like it was going to happen based on the behind-the-scenes chatter at the Toyota Center. There were too many reasons for this marriage not to occur — Smith has history with the city of Houston and has wanted to be here in the past, he is close friends with Dwight Howard (his former AAU teammate) and the Rockets could extend to him their bi-annual exception (roughly $2.1 million), something other contenders could not offer.
There are several intriguing possibilities here with Smith. It’s a low-risk, potentially high-reward move for the team’s depth that could bolster the bigs rotation and put the Rockets in a better position to make another trade. As a result, it will be interesting to see how this impacts the future of either Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas in Houston.
That’s not to say that Smith doesn’t have his flaws. Smith shot a career-low 39.1% from the field for the Pistons this season (just 24.3% from three-point range), and that’s on high volume (14.0 shots per game). His shot selection has been panned by fans and media for years. But the big hope is that he can make a real impact defensively and in transition — two of his strong suits historically. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, playing a lesser role next to the likes of James Harden and Howard could make the game easier for Smith.
But at this price, there’s not much to dislike here. If it doesn’t work out, Daryl Morey and company haven’t risked much at all in terms of cap or dollars.
Some highlights of Smith’s last season with the Pistons: