From friends to rivals; free agent forward Josh Smith is leaving Rockets is all set to sign a one-year deal with their rival, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Earlier during the second round of this year’s NBA playoffs, Smith had played a crucial role in nudging the Rockets towards a win over the Clippers. Now he seems to be all set to join the very same guys he helped defeat.
Smith who will be moving on to his third team if the deal goes through, is being eyed by other teams like Sacramento Kings and his old team, Houston Rockets. In fact, Rockets even offered him a one-year $2.5 million deal to play with them again. During his stint with the Rockets Smith managed a combined 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists in a total of 83 games, the last one being the NBA playoffs 2015 where he rallied the team which was otherwise facing a 3-1 defeat.
Praising his former team, Smith said, “Over my pro career, I have spent a lot of time in Houston with friends and family. Over the past year, while with the Rockets, the team, fans and people of Houston have made it a second home. I want to express my appreciation to everyone for their support and kindness they have shown me and my family while I have been here.”
Prior to his career as a free agent, Josh Smith spent nine years with the Atlanta Hawks, where he amassed 15.3 points and 8.0 rebounds with 18.8 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game in 2011-2012 and then a short time with the Pistons. He also has a couple of awards and honors to his name – NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors in 2010 and a rookie winner of the Slam Dunk Contest in 2005.
Looking to avenge their defeat against the Rockets in last season’s Western Conference Semi-Finals, the Clippers, apart from Smith, have re-signed DeAndre Jordan and Austin Rivers and free-agents Paul Pierce, Wes Johnson and Cole Aldrich to strengthen their line-up for the 2015-16 season.