3 signs of validation for the Rockets' front office

2023 NBA Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets
2023 NBA Summer League - Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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3. Rockets acquire Josh Smith on buyout market after payday with Pistons

After expressing interest in acquiring former All-Star Josh Smith at the trade deadline in previous years, the Houston Rockets managed to finally get their guy for just a fraction of the cost. The Detroit Pistons ultimately gave J-Smoove a four-year deal worth $54 million, which they immediately regretted.

The Pistons ultimately gave Smith his walking papers in his second year, clearing the way for the Rockets to sign him on the buyout market. This means the Rockets were able to finally land their guy for just $2 million, at the expense of the Pistons, who were on the hook for significantly more.

Keane explains why Smith cracked his list of the worst free-agent contracts.

"Josh Smith could do a lot of things well on a basketball court: run, block shots and dunk. But he never realized the things he was bad at: shooting three-pointers, dribbling and paying attention on defense.

When he signed with the Pistons in 2013 on a four-year, $54 million deal, it was a bad time to be a small forward who couldn't shoot threes, which is the position he had to play alongside Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in Detroit. His first year didn't go well, as he clashed with teammates and simply didn't fit on offense.

Smith's defense was fine, but he shot 26 percent from three-point range. When Stan Van Gundy replaced Joe Dumars, he simply cut Smith one-third of the way through the season. Detroit compounded its salary cap woes by stretching the deal, which means that even though Josh Smith has moved on to the BIG3, the Pistons are still paying him this year."

Rockets fans likely remember Smith for his ability to lift them to victory in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals, despite James Harden being on the bench. It wouldn't have happened at all, were it not for the Pistons' incompetence.