Rockets News

Josh Smith Will Sign With Rockets

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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The worst kept secret of the past 48-hours was Josh Smith will sign with Rockets.  Yahoo and nba.com are reporting Smith has confirmed via his agent he will sign with Houston as soon as he clears waivers at 5:00 P.M. It is projected Houston will sign Smith for $2-million dollars using their bi-annual exception.

Yahoo Sources: Josh Smith has agreed to sign with the Houston Rockets. http://t.co/djRksHOuf0

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 24, 2014

Josh Smith has committed to signing with the Houston Rockets, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. He clears waivers at 5 PM today.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 24, 2014

While other teams such as Dallas, Miami, Sacramento, both Los Angeles teams and apparently Memphis had also shown interest this signing was expected the minute Smith was released by Detroit.

There are a myriad of reasons, but the primary one seemed to center around the fact Dwight Howard and Josh Smith are extremely close friends. From the Rockets’ personnel  perspective we’ve needed to shore up the front court and Smith offers size and the ability to fill a specific role. Further cementing the deal was word Smith would only consider situations where he would be a starter which removed Dallas, the Clippers as well as Memphis who had also been rumored to have interest.

Hearing today teams were told Josh Smith would ONLY consider teams offering him a starting spot, essentially reducing choice to HOU vs. MIA

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 24, 2014

Further, Smith was said to only be interested in teams in playoff contention which likely removed Sacramento and the Lakers from the mix. That would have left just Miami and Houston on the table as his main options. Given the Rockets had aggressively pursued him the summer he signed with Detroit, his relationship with Howard and the Rockets confirmation he would start likely pushed Houston ahead.

Smith a 6’9″ power forward never fit into the Detroit system or with Stan Van Gundy who continued to play him at the small forward position because he was trying to utilize Smith in concert with center Andre Drummond and power forward Greg Monroe. This experiment never worked out, so Van Gundy who is both  coach and Head of Basketball Operations in Detroit decided to make an extremely rare move by releasing Smith and eat the $26-million plus remaining on his contract.

The buzz on new Rocket Josh Smith. http://t.co/v9hlQamf4C pic.twitter.com/C3VTKvGm5x

— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) December 24, 2014

This season Smith is averaging 13.1-points, 7.2-rebounds, 4.7-assists, 1.3-steals,  1.7-blocks and 2.6 turnovers in 32-minutes per game. His shooting stats are the area most have focused on with a field goal percent of 39.1% (a career low), three-point shooting percent of 24.3% and free throw percent of 46.8% (well below his career average of 63.8%).

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It’s thought Smith’s ability to defend and grab rebounds while filling the stat sheet with intangibles will improve the Rockets starting line-up and his presence will add depth to a bench that has been performing well below expectations.

While I was going to wait until the 5:00 PM waiver deadline to post, the fact nba.com is running the story on their front page appears to make this a done deal (though stranger things have happened).

Moving ahead, Space City Scoop will analyze how Smith’s addition may effect the team’s chances to move up in the West or if this move increases their title contention chances.

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