Rockets re-acquire Josh Smith

VIDEO: Josh Smith comes up big for Houston in Game 7 of the 2015 West semifinals

In the last year, two teams decided they had no use for Josh Smith, except one of them is bringing him back.

After playing for the Rockets last season and then being ignored by them in free agency, where the Clippers signed him, Smith is headed back to Houston.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the Clippers sent Smith to the Rockets virtually for nothing; cash and a second round pick changed hands. The deal saves the Clippers a few bucks in salary cap fees and provides the Rockets … well, nobody is exactly sure what it does for them.

The Rockets confirmed the trade on Friday afternoon and detailed it as follows:

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired forward Josh Smith via trade from the Los Angeles Clippers along with the draft rights to forward/center Sergei Lishouk and cash considerations in exchange for the draft rights to forward Maarty Leunen.  Smith will wear #5 for Houston.

Here’s more from Wojnarowski on the deal:

Several Rockets players were eager for the the team to bring back Smith, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

After losing Smith to the Clippers in free agency in July, his inability to find a role with Los Angeles made him expendable almost immediately.

Smith had regret over leaving the Rockets, where he had found a significant role in the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals last season. Smith signed a one-year deal with the Clippers for the league minimum, but never meshed with coach Doc Rivers.

The Clippers will send cash to cover the remaining $460,000 on Smith’s $1.4 million minimum salary this season and the draft rights to Sergei Lishouk. Houston sends the Clippers the rights to Maarty Leunen. Neither player is expected to play in the NBA.

Smith was solid for Houston last year in the playoffs, coincidently against the Clippers when he helped erase a 3-1 West semifinals hole, but his poor habits and mistakes made the Rockets look the other way in free agency. He signed for the Clippers and the summer haul by Rivers (Smith, Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson) was economical and expected to be helpful.

But none have made a major impact, and Smith and Stephenson in particular stuck to the bench. Smith averaged only 14 minutes a night in Los Angeles and his playing time didn’t increase even after Blake Griffin went down with a quad injury.

Rivers might make another economical move before next month’s trade deadline to shore up the bench in preparation for the playoffs as Rivers and his players have already stated they’re not good enough to beat the Warriors.

Meanwhile, the Rockets are searching for anything that provide a throwback to last season, when they reached the Western Conference finals, losing in five games. Right now, they’re barely treading water and sit near the bottom of the playoff cutoff point. Don’t be surprised if Rockets GM Daryl Morey is active on the trade market, too.


  1. #1clipperfan says:

    Typical Clippers – making ineffective offseason moves. Please remind me, why is Doc Rivers still the presiden of Basketball ops.? The team has not made the leap to an elite NBA team and will never do so with the current management. We need someone like Jerry west that will deliver. Just disappointed like many true Clipper fans because we see a team that is going nowhere.

  2. Harry says:

    Man…Is J Smooth ever going to realise if he stops shooting tripples and long range 2’s he could be one of the biggest weapons in the NBA. I’d hit him with a clause in his contract that if he shoots bad jumpers he doesn’t get paid. Like Boris Diaw and Big Baby’s fat clauses.

  3. I never thought J Smoove should have left the Rockets, he was a good fit, and yes, he has good chemistry w/ Dwight Howard, his former Atlanta schoolmate. Good news for the Rockets and Josh Smith dogged yet another bullet.

  4. Eric says:

    Doc Rivers has been a HUGE disappointment. Bad acquisitions, poor rotations, terrible decision making during crucial moments of games. What a disaster. Took him almost 25 games to start using Cole Aldridge and never used Aldridge at Center with Smith at power forward at the same time, which would have been a more natural role for Smith. Doc insists in playing guys at positions that are not natural for them and then wonders why things are not working out. Hope he’s gone next season.

    • #clipperfan says:

      Agree with the bad acquisitions. Not the right person for the president of basketball ops. We need to make bold moves NOW, otherwise this will be another disappointing season. We are just giving away players (j. Smith) without getting anything of value in return. I would not be surprised if C. Paul demands a trade. This team will not win anything.

  5. HawksFan says:

    Smith was terrible for us

  6. Nick says:

    More proof Rivers needs to resign as VP. His so-called “Summer haul” is a mess. It was a haul alright – for the opposing teams! He needs to let someone else make the trade decisions. Stick to coaching, Doc!

  7. Rosscoach says:

    Great move for the Rockets. Dwight and Smith have great chemistry stemming back from playing together in their high school AAU basketball teams. Smith is an experienced big who can play small ball center or small forward in bigger lineups. More importantly, he matches up well with the Warriors small ball lineup.

    I am really shocked Doc Rivers could not figure out how to utilize his skill set.

  8. michael siegel says:

    Man, How I want to see Josh Smith beat-up on the Clippers !!!!