Dwight Howard and Josh Smith played on the same AAU team out of Atlanta back in the day — yes, that was a pretty wicked team — and have remained friends ever since.
That was one of the draws for Smith to sign with the Houston Rockets, something he has told the teams pursuing him will happen, according to multiple reports. It may take a couple of days until ink hits paper, but it’s happening.
Smith wanted minutes as a starter and he wanted to contend for a ring and that, along with Howard, made Houston the logical landing spot. Smith told Fox 26 news in Houston he is looking forward to a fresh start.
“It’s an exciting time for me,” Smith said in an interview with FOX26 Sports. “Being able to be reunited with a good friend and one of the best teammates I ever played with, I think we can definitely do something special.
“Playing beside the best two-guard in the game right now in James Harden, what more can you ask for.”
“I think I can add to their toughness,” Smith said. “I think I can add to their versatility at the four position, being able to pass the basketball and score the ball down low. Just add another basketball IQ, which will help when we make it to the postseason.”
Smith should add depth for the Rockets, something they need with starting power forward Terrence Jones still out with a nerve issue in his leg. Smith can help their defense and rebounding as well.
This is a low-risk move by the Rockets, who picked Smith up for just the bi-annual exception of $2 million a year. If it turns out Smith’s decline the past couple years — specifically his struggles to score around the rim — was not largely due to the dysfunction of that roster the Rockets still will have Jones and Donatas Motiejunas at the four and can just bury Smith on the bench. He doesn’t cost much. This would still be the Harden and Howard show either way, it’s just a matter of what is around them being title worthy.