Rockets likely lead contenders for recently waived Josh Smith


VIDEO: Where might Josh Smith wind up next?

The only way Josh Smith could be more of a target is if he had a glow-in-the-dark bullseye painted on his back.

After all, when the Pistons waived him Monday, he was on pace to become the first NBA player to shoot less than 40 percent from the field and 50 percent from the free-throw line while taking at least 12 shots per game.

However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a line of prospective employers from coast-to-coast as soon as the 11-year veteran hits the free-agent market when he clears waivers on Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the leading candidates:

Rockets — Probably tops on the list. Houston general manager Daryl Morey went after Smith in the summer of 2013, but could not close a sign-and-trade with Atlanta to get a deal done. With Terrence Jones sidelined, the Rockets still have the need for him at the four as a rebounder and long defender and Smith’s penchant for those wild 3-pointers might get lost in Houston’s long distance barrage. Smith could easily envision himself playing for a true title contender this season if he joins a lineup with his good buddy Dwight Howard and NBA leading scorer James Harden. Howard and Smith became close when they played on the same AAU team. Howard was also best man in Smith’s wedding. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets would offer their $2.077 million bi-annual exception. Likely preferred destination.

Mavericks — That in-state Texas rivalry between Dallas and Houston that has already seen Chandler Parsons head north over the summer and then the Mavs win out last week in the Rajon Rondo Derby is only likely to get hotter. With Brandan Wright sent to Boston in the Rondo swap, the Mavs definitely have a need for a big body up front to come off the bench. There’s another personal connection here. Smith and Rondo played on the same Oak Hill Academy high school team. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News caught up with Mavs coach Rick Carlisle: “My opinion on Josh Smith? He’s a player whose ability I respect a lot,” Carlisle said. “And he’s had enough big games against us. He’s the kind of guy who can put a team on his back and beat you. He’s done it to us a lot of times. So I don’t know details of what happened there. But he’ll be picked up soon, I know that.” The all-in-for-this-season-Mavs should never be counted out.

Grizzlies — While two straight losses still have Memphis sitting as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, the grit and grind Grizzlies are always looking for ways to juice up their offense and get easy baskets. Smith’s size could fit in on an already bruising front line with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and when motivated to run the floor, he can finish and take some of the pressure off to toil through the shot clock for buckets.

Heat — The season-ending injury to Josh McRoberts has Miami crying out for help on the front line and in terms of raw talent, packages like Smith don’t often drop down your chimney at this time of the year. The Heat don’t have that “you’re joining a title contender cachet” as the top three pursuers in the West. But the thought is that Smith could join a lineup that really needs him and he’d be asked to play in a system suited to his skill set and not necessarily one where a squeeze would be needed to make him fit. Miami hopes to get a $2.65 million disabled-player cap exception with McRoberts headed for knee surgery. The Heat would figure they could keep the wild side of Smith’s game under wraps with the influence of team president Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra and the on-court presence of veterans Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade among others.

Clippers — When asked about his interest in Smith at the team’s shoot around in San Antonio Monday, coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers simply said: “I don’t know.” The Clippers have been searching for help at the three all season, but would have only have the minimum to offer Smith. Since they are at the 15-man roster limit, they would have to waive a player before they could sign Smith. The personal connection in L.A. is assistant coach Mike Woodson, who was the head man in Atlanta when Smith had his most productive NBA seasons with the Hawks.

Kings — ESPN.com reported last summer that Sacramento tried to trade for Smith, offering various packages that included names such as Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams and Carl Landry. At the time it was said to be Kings owner Vivek Ranadive that wanted Smith to team up with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay in would certainly have been an oddly-matched Kings’ frontcourt. Sacramento could only afford to offer the veterans minimum of $1.4 million. But the biggest handicap the Kings have compared to the other Western is not being a contender.

37 Comments

  1. Reuben says:

    Heat all the way baby

  2. Waleed says:

    The right place for him is “Memphis Grizzlies” Just Grizzy Grind … If he want to Develop his game way better than now , and finally taste a Championship moment and the Ring in his hand with the Other Guys in MEM …

  3. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    I see him in the D-League, work on your game, been in the league 10 years and has no game, were they do that??? I wouldn’t even want him on my YMCA team…

  4. Dave says:

    If Miami take him, I might just stop watching their games. I cant stand this guy.

  5. Dougie says:

    Go to the CAVS . They need a shot blocker!! Kevin Love can’t jump.

  6. Lbjsplas says:

    Any team except the Warriors could use j-smoove only cause I like green and want him to improve.j-smoove is an anthor example of what can happen to talen when they are placed in a wrong team.

  7. ibe says:

    I love the suggestion the knicks should take him… that’s probably the worst spot, they already have 2 guys who play the same position that don’t play well together. and yea, melo is a 4. adding smith would put icing on the knicks season.

  8. mmmmmmm says:

    okay, I toatlly agree with the heat, but none of the others. I think Philly or the Nets, or even the Timberwolves would be likely to pick this guy up. And you never know, The Bucks or Celtics might take him.

  9. even if they land smith…still wont be a contender

  10. Kirby Record says:

    He’s a great versatile player if he can be controlled. The other players on the team are the key to his effectiveness. I think either Houston or Mavs would know how to use him.

  11. jonski22 says:

    i like Josh Smith when he was in Atlanta…athletic..good defender…shot blocker and rebounder…under the rim he can go nuts..what i don’t like is the way he try to shoot outside..it’s clearly not his forte..and a little bit of attitude…

    but he can go to a contender, with a good respectable coach…he can help some team in the already loaded West..Pop can discipline him, esp now Spurs are losing…Mavs after trading Wright…need a big man…Warriors/Grizz/Clips could try….

  12. Melvin Waites says:

    Y wouldn’t the Lakers want him? I guess they figure we’re cool with Boozer, Sacre n Jordan lol

  13. harriethehawk says:

    Detroit gave the impression that Josh Smith was all that when they gave him that explosive contract. He’s a bum, the Hawks knew it, and now they do too. Unless he comes off someone’s bench, I say the best place for him is the Angry Ants-like forever. Good riddance.

  14. dustydreamnz says:

    I wouldn’t want him on my team. Is it any coincidence the Hawks have done much better without him?

  15. ignatz2000 says:

    HOW ARE THE LAKERS NOT ON THIS LIST!!!

  16. sad old pointguard says:

    It’s rare talent – athletic big guy with fast hands, fast legs and great court vision. Seriously, he’s better playmaker than Brandon Jennings, for whom it’s primarily job. And Detroit will continue to tank under Jennings leadership.
    Yes, Smith is a bad perimeter shooter (but he’s still 60% from corner, OK?), but the comparable guy who’s good called the king. So what’s wrong with Smith?
    He’s no leader, he’s no sergeant. Just simple. i believe that’s the role for 10-year veteran in Van Gundy Detroit, which he had failed. It’s not his, just like its’s not his to have 6-8 perimeter shots per game.
    He does not create structure around, he needs a structure to fit in. By the way like his friend Dwight.
    In Woodson’s Atlanta there was a leader, there was a role for his versatility, so J-Smoove was perfect. And we were asking every year, why he’s missing ASG. In last couple years he was frustrating, fans were frustrating. Maybe because he played small forward more than 5 min, which never happened with Woodson.
    He needs a team with leader and coach able to utilize his set of abilities on 4th position both in offence in defense.
    Houston or Miami.

  17. rafael says:

    go to spurs he can help on our system

  18. Someone says:

    The Clippers must be pretty damn stupid if they sign him to fill their small forward gap. Smith at the 3 is a proven recipe for disaster

    • Common Sense says:

      I think it’s funny that they put the Clippers on this list considering they have no money, no space and they aren’t really interested. They might as well have every team on this list and explain why they are or aren’t interested.Clippers need a point guard or need to put Cunningham in for the season and let Farmar start in the playoffs. Aside from that Smith has no place in LA unless the Lakers are interested in taking their problems to the next level.

  19. OldKGfan says:

    Shooting less than 40 percent from the field and the coach still allowed this guy to shoot 12 times per game… smh. With the right coach, Josh Smith can still be a contributor. Try playing him as a sixth man at the 4 and limiting him to 5-8 shots per game. Unfortunately, only about 8 teams could really work with his brand of talent and even less would be willing to.

  20. jty7271 says:

    Why didn’t they just trade him? I don’t get it. He’s still a talent lots of teams want. They could’ve got something for him, right?

    • Skrutz says:

      Nobody wanted to trade. His contract is way too unappealing for what he does, and everyone would want Detroits picks – which they really don’t want to part with. They missed an opportunity with the Kings before, though.

  21. Kenneth Williams says:

    If a team just waives a player like smith without getting anything back but still owes what $30 million then its time for that dude to be out of the nba one less overpaid jerkoff

  22. Kenneth Williams says:

    And like the rest of nba players now he wont play unless its for a contender and he does NOT deserve to play for a contender hes done nothing but get overpaid in nba for a barely ok resume and bad in the locker room

  23. Kello says:

    Well, I think it´s time the Knicks awake from the dead! Josh Smith can be a great way to improve New York ! Why? He can play defense! He´s a great rebounder and a treat whitin the paint. He will fit the zenmaster´s way of playing b-ball. So listen up Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher!, start rebuilding by trading the Smith-brothers and adding Josh Smith to the roster!

  24. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    A team waive’s you, and isn’t even trying to get anything like a second round pick for you??? WOW, you just garbage. I wouldn’t want him on my team. Under 40% from the field, under 50% free throw’s, why would any one want that on a contender, how is that helping you. If you can’t get good numbers on a bad team then how good or bad are you??? Really…..

    • 'j'jjj'j'jj says:

      agreed

    • dee says:

      he was not a fit in the pistons system. look at rudy gay with the raptors and look at him now with the kings was rudy gay really a bad player and all of a sudden became good again, no. but if you dont fit with the system 1 of 2 things can happen, your numbers suffer or the team suffers. look at carmelo anthony his numbers arent really suffering but his team sure is because the team isnt right for him you have one of the best offensive players playing with players that are more offensive minded then defensive minded payers.in rudy gays case you had him playing and creating for himself with no movement no bigs to draw attention with wasnt the case in memephis and isnt the case now and josh smith case he was better when he did the little things clean up man run the floor cutting to the rim playing great deffence playing off a 1st or 2nd option .not being option 1 and not playing sf he should play the 4. if you play the 3 and not the 4 your on the perimeter more often and it will make you more inclined to shoot more as apposed to the 4 were you spend more time inside more offensive rebounds and more inside cutting and scoring and he can still run the floor as a 4

      • Jorma says:

        Apparently the did try to trade him. Just ain’t nobody wanted him:

        “Had heard from a Pistons front office member that Detroit daily pursued Josh Smith trades with all 29 other NBA teams. Zero were interested.” (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2307828-josh-smith-released-by-pistons-latest-details-comments-and-reaction).

        I wonder why (ahem, 39.1%, 24.1%, 46.8% – nope, I did NOT make them numbers up)?!

      • DogginEm says:

        Dee I’m so glad there is somebody who understands basketball. At the 4 smooth is an amazing talent hands down. It’s hard to transition from being one of the most athletic 4s to going to an average 3. His athleticism was out done by most of the 3s playing. Sure he was stronger but it’s hard to muscle people when they fly past you. It’s just like how the kings ruined Tyreke movie him from the point. He was dominant against the other pgs. He can’t match sf strength size and athleticism.

      • Pokito says:

        I disagree with the system talk, Josh Smith was just one of those guys who was a supreme athlete but never had the skill to take his game to the next level. I believe once he clears waivers he will go to a contender, my guess is Dallas but who knows.

      • DogginEm says:

        Man if he goes to Dallas idk wtf to tell the league. I think he wants to play with Howard. But will end up with the kings.they want him bad. He really needs to go where he can’t feel like he is the man because he is a huge ball hog. Nobody needs people shooting on triple teams unless your curry or kobe

    • Tim NBA Fan says:

      Shooting percentage is a stat that is more significantly altered than other stats by how well a player fits with teammates and the system. In the 11-12 season Boris Diaw shot just 41.0% from the field, 26.7% on threes, and 63.0% FT in his first 37 games with the Bobcats. Then the Spurs got him. In the 13-14 season Diaw made a key contribution to a title team, shooting 52.1% FG, 40.2% 3-PT, 73.9% FT. There is some potential for Josh Smith to make a similar improvement on a contender like the Mavericks or Spurs, maybe the Cavs, Clippers, or Rockets. While the Kings look like an odd fit on paper, Rudy Gay did improve from .388 FG shooting to .482 FG% after being traded from Toronto to Sacramento last season. Maybe Smith could improve similarly.