Author: Kurt Helin

Josh Smith

Rockets officially sign Josh Smith, who will play Friday night; waive Tarik Black


We told you it was coming but now it is official: Josh Smith is a member of the Houston Rockets.

And he will be available to play Friday night against Memphis.

The Pistons were so frustrated with Smith’s play they were willing to pay him more than $27 million just to go away. They outright waived a guy with a guaranteed deal. He did not fit with Andre Drummond and Smith wasn’t making shots (neither near the basket nor with his ill-advised jumpers). He wasn’t Stan Van Gundy’s guy.

But the Rockets — still without starting power forward Terence Jones — see in Smith a guy who is just 29 and was scoring almost 18 points a game a few years ago, is athletic and can defend well. They see a guy strangled by the situation in Detroit who can help them out. They see a guy who has a great relationship with Dwight Howard, as they played AAU ball together. They see a player who can be part of their rotation as they try to win a title.

When the Pistons waived Smith the Rockets went after him hard offering the bi-annual exception of just more than $2 million, and they officially got their man on Friday.

Smith said before he was excited to join this team. He’s on board. And if it doesn’t work out here, it was not a big loss for the Rockets. It’s a low-risk gamble, they can start Smith for now and if this doesn’t fit they get Terrence Jones back from a nerve issue in his leg and can give him key minutes.

But if one guy is in on a full roster, another is out, so the Rockets waived Tarik Black.

Black had the physical tools to be an NBA four coming out of college — he spent three seasons at Memphis and one at Kansas — but went undrafted last June because he lacked polish. He was on the Rockets’ Summer League team and from there got a camp invite then made the roster because of his rebounding and athleticism. There was potential.

Then Terrence Jones and Dwight Howard were injured and Black’s role grew — he actually started 12 games for Houston and was a regular part of their rotation. He averaged 4.2 points shooting 54 percent plus grabbed 5.1 rebounds a game, pulling down a very respectable 18.1 percent of the available rebounds while on the court. He played solidly for a rookie.

Then Howard returned and Black was struggling to get on the court. Now the Rockets have signed Smith, which means Black is out and being waived, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and later confirmed by the team.

To clear a roster spot to sign free agent Josh Smith, the Houston Rockets waived center Tarik Black on Friday, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Black had been a training camp and preseason surprise for the Rockets, an undrafted center out of Kansas who showed an ability to play in the NBA. More than one NBA team told Yahoo Sports they will have interest in claiming him on waivers. Black’s $500,000 owed him for this season has a partial guarantee. There’s a team option of $845,000 on his deal for the 2015-16 season.

That’s pennies in NBA dollars and worth it for Black, who showed promise in his time in Houston. Some team will roll the dice and claim him off waivers.

You can’t blame the Rockets, they are in “win now” mode as they should be and a rookie just isn’t going to play a big role. But they gave Black a chance and he will stick in the NBA.

Knicks’ Quincy Acy suspended one game, Wizards’ John Wall fined for Christmas Day incident

Kris Humphries, Nene, Quincy Acy, John Wall

Is suspending a guy so he doesn’t have to play for the Knicks for a night really a punishment?

After this fourth quarter incident above during the opening Christmas Day game, the league came in on Friday and suspended the Knicks’ Quincy Acy for one game for “committing a Flagrant Foul Two which initiated an altercation.”

The league also fined John Wall $15,000 for “for pushing Acy and escalating the incident.”

Acy did go high with his foul on Wall as the Wizards guard came down in transition, getting him in the face and neck. Wall was understandably mad, bounced up and shoved Acy, who then responded by starting to throw a punch, which he pulled and it didn’t land. But that was enough to get Acy ejected.

Wall admitted after the game he can’t act like that, key stars can’t be the one that retaliates.

“Me being a key player I’ve got to keep my emotions in check and not get a technical or get ejected, that could have cost us the game,” Wall said in a televised interview on ESPN afterward. “I’ve just got to do a better job of staying composed.”

Holiday spirit: Kenny Smith shoved Shaquille O’Neal into Christmas tree (VINE)

2014 NBA Finals Game Three



Did anyone else see this clip and hear their mom’s voice in their head? “If you guys keep horsing around someone is going to get hurt!” The always playful nature of Inside the NBA led to Kenny Smith and Shaq getting in a footrace to the big back screen, and Smith gave Shaq a small shove that threw off his balance — and the tree paid the price. Shaq was not hurt.



John Stockton’s State Farm twin ad is the best (VIDEO)

Portland Trailblazers vs. Utah Jazz

The Chris Paul/Cliff Paul State Farm twin ads were pretty good (if a tad overplayed). Then Stephen Curry joined he twin series of ads.

But it was a stroke of genius to add John Stockton to the mix. This ad debuted on Christmas.

Spencer Hawes Christmas Day suit was…. well, you should just see it (VIDEO)

Spencer Hawes

Maybe this was just Spencer Hawes’ tribute to Craig Sager.

Otherwise, well, it was Christmas themed but I don’t have much to say about Hawes’ suit that he wore on the bench as his Clippers beat the Warriors with a great fourth quarter push.

It’s just a little more stunning on a seven footer, I think.