MANILA, Philippines – Josh Smith, released by the Detroit Pistons on Monday, December 22, has decided to join the Houston Rockets to team up with his close friend Dwight Howard.
A report by ESPN said the veteran forward told FOX26 Sports of his intention to sign with the Houston Rockets calling it “an exciting time” for him. He added he is looking forward to playing alongside Howard, who he describes as “one of the best teammates I ever played with.”
Smith also can’t wait to play beside James Harden who he calls “the best two-guard in the game right now.”
Smith is averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game in the 2014-2015 NBA season.
The veteran forward spent his first 8 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks where he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and was the Slam Dunk Contest champion in 2005. In 2010, Smith was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.
J-smoove wants to be a starter
Many analysts believed Smith would eventually choose the Rockets despite a plethora of teams going after his services. But one thing J-Smoove asked from the inquiring teams is that he wanted to be assured of a starting spot.
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
As covered here last night, Houston guaranteed that Josh Smith would be a starter, essentially clinching the Rockets as Smith's choice— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 24, 2014
ESPN’s Marc Stein reports Houston is now shopping around Joey Dorsey, Tarik Black, Isaiah Canaan, Nick Johnson and Clint Capela to make room for Smith.
Rockets are making the rounds on Christmas Eve, offering up anyone in the bottom third of their roster via trade to make room for Josh Smith— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 25, 2014
Apologies to ISAIAH Canaan. Make that Joey Dorsey, Tarik Black, ISAIAH Canaan, Nick Johnson and Clint Capela all available in Houston— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 25, 2014
Smith will likely play the power forward spot for the Rockets giving Houston a starting five of Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Josh Smith, and Dwight Howard.
J-Smoove adds defense and athleticism to the Houston’s frontline. He also likely won’t be forced to take that many outside shots and settle right into his comfort zone of taking shots near the basket where he is most effective as proven by his 63% shooting clip in the 2012-2013 season – his last tour of duty in Atlanta.
Smith has been shooting 39.1% from the field 46.8% from the free throw line this season – both career lows. Sliding back to the 4-spot should help improve those numbers. – Rappler.com