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Rockets cut Tarik Black, officially sign Josh Smith

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The move is done

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith is officially a member of the Houston Rockets, and Tarik Black no longer is.

That's the way of things in Daryl Morey's world. The Rockets' GM couldn't swing a trade -- the fact that everyone in the league knew he needed to open a roster spot didn't help -- so he cut the undrafted big man. Black averaged 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 15 minutes per game for the Rockets. He played in 25 games, and started 12.

Black wasn't in Houston for long, but he made an impression. The Rockets needed someone, anyone, to step up in the absence of Dwight Howard. Black stepped in and kept the ship afloat, helping the Rockets win without the big man in the middle, especially as Joey Dorsey struggled to shake off the NBA rust.

The Rockets almost certainly won't have to pay Black's cap number, which is probably why he was let go instead of Dorsey. He's cheap and useful enough to be picked up somewhere -- perhaps in Cleveland, where they need a center badly -- before he clears waivers, absolving the Rockets of their debt.

Josh Smith was signed immediately after Black was waived. He'll suit up tonight, and participated in shootaround today. He'll be starting, Donuts will go to the bench, and we'll have to see how this plays out. It's all official now, it's up to Kevin McHale and Smith to make it work.