Dwight Howard and Josh Smith grew up in Atlanta together, playing on the same AAU team, and fostering a friendship that has still lasts today. After Howard agreed to terms with the Rockets last night, many speculated that Smith would follow suit, joining Dwight and James Harden in Houston in a sign-and-trade arrangement. That will not be coming to fruition, as Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Smith and the Pistons have agreed to terms on a massive four year, $56 million deal.
With the Hawks reportedly interested in landing Omer Asik in a sign-and-trade arrangement and Smith undoubtedly intrigued by the possibility of joining his buddy Dwight Howard in Houston, the blame for the lack of a deal has to lay at Daryl Morey's feet. If the Rockets landed Josh Smith, they would be locking themselves in with a core of Harden-Parsons-Smith-Howard. Perhaps, the Rockets believe that making a less expensive move would help them better that in the future.
The truth is that for all of Josh Smith's talent, his exciting blocks, bringing him in would've created a front court with sh*t show written all over it. Neither one can shoot, neither one is remotely disciplined, and both are selfish, low basketball IQ players. If they fed off each other, it could be a dangerous combination.
Instead, Woj reports that Morey has turned his eyes onto Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans
Hornets Pelicans. Anderson is the complete opposite of Josh Smith, in good and bad ways. He's not nearly the athlete or the defender, but he fits the mold of a stretch four to a tee and is a disciplined offensive player. Over the past three seasons, Anderson has shot 38% or better from behind the arc each year, and has flourished as he's earned more playing time.
In an offense that demands spacing as much as Kevin McHale's, the Rockets would benefit greatly from Anderson's presence. With Dwight in the middle and four shooters around him, the Rockets could run pick and rolls and force opposing defenses to either help off shooters or leave the paint completely exposed. It could be a deadly combination.
So yes, landing Josh Smith would've ramped up the excitement in Houston to crazy levels, but it is all likely part of Daryl Morey's plan. For all the times that Morey has been connected to Smith, I truly don't believe his interest has ever been as genuine as has been reported. Today's agreement with the Pistons just makes that belief even stronger.