You haven’t heard the last of Josh Smith.
The Pistons’ stunning release of the forward will make him a free agent once he clears waivers. Only the 76ers have enough cap space to claim him, and they’re not foolish enough to do that (nor would anyone else be). So, to free agency Smith will go.
There was effectively no cap incentive for the Pistons to release Smith before the trade deadline, which should say something about him. But there will be no shortage of teams who look past that red flag and see Smith’s talent.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Mike Woodson is a Clippers assistant, and Smith played his best basketball for Woodson and the Hawks. The Clippers would have to waive Jared Cunningham, whose contract is unguaranteed, but that shouldn’t be a problem.
Smith has fantasized about playing in the NBA with high school teammate Rajon Rondo, whom the Mavericks just acquired.
Smith is also friends with Dwight Howard, and the Rockets reportedly tried to sign both players in 2013. Houston has its bi-annual exception, so it can pay Smith more. But considering the Pistons’ set-off rights, that’d only net Smith an extra $314,255. And from the Rockets’ point of view, that would prevent them from using the exception next offseason.
Sacramento tried to trade for Smith this summer, and interest probably hasn’t waned. The bigger question is why Smith would pick the Kings, but perhaps he appreciates their enthusiasm.
At his best, Smith is a versatile and skilled player who could fit with nearly any team. Don’t be surprised if more suitors emerge. But remember, they’re all chasing Smith with minimum or near-minimum deals for a reason.