Josh Smith

Report: if Rockets don’t land Howard they may chase Josh Smith


UPDATE 5:01 pm: Talking on Houston Radio today, they said this may not be a plan to have a fallback for Dwight Howard so much as to unite Howard and Smith — offer the Hawks a sign-and-trade with Omer Asik and other pieces or contracts the Rockets want to unload. The Hawks might take that.

I still think that is a terrible idea. Whether Howard likes it or not. Smith is only effective close to the basket but he has a propensity to take jump shots outside that range, all the way out to the three point line. With Howard in the post Smith will have more reason to act like a stretch four and not play to his strengths. Let me be blunt — Smith doesn’t help make this team a contender. Despite his gifts. But that’s a scenario.

10:01 am: This year’s NBA free agent class has Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and then a big drop off in quality.

Who is probably the third best player available? Josh Smith.

That’s who the Rockets met with on Monday and they were very up front with him, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.

The Houston Rockets told Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Smith during their meeting Monday in Los Angeles that they will make him a contract offer if they don’t sign Los Angeles Lakers free-agent center Dwight Howard, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Smith understood the Rockets’ position and wasn’t offended. Smith hasn’t met with the Atlanta Hawks, who could pursue a sign-and-trade deal to get something in return for him.

The Pistons have been the team most expected to make a run at Smith. That makes little sense either, unless Joe Dumar’s goal is to stunt the growth of the front court of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

For the Rockets, I don’t like this move. Smith is not a guy the Rockets can pair with James Harden and be contenders — Smith’s penchant for taking jumpers he doesn’t make renders him far less effective. He is also not the consistent defensive and rebounding force a healthy Howard is.

If the Rockets lose out on Howard, they are better off holding on to their money, making short term deals and awaiting the next trade of free agent opportunity for a real franchise anchor guy. Don’t settle. Being patient sucks as a fan, but sometimes it is the best course of action.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.