Clippers have traded Josh Smith back to Houston, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 22, 2016
The Rockets now make the trade official as the team released today:
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has acquired forward Josh Smith via trade from the Los Angeles Clippers along with the draft rights to forward/center Sergei Lishouk and cash considerations in exchange for the draft rights to forward Maarty Leunen. Smith will wear #5 for Houston.
The Smith rollercoaster continues as he was waived by the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 22, 2014, only to find a home with the Rockets two days later. Smith slotted into the Rockets second unit and gelled by the time the playoff rolled around. Smith showed tremendous skill as a point-forward distributing to his former AAU teammate Dwight Howard.
Smith's time with the Rockets peaked in the team's playoff series against the Clippers. Smith added 33 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and three blocks during the final three games of the Rockets comeback -- scoring 19 points in game six.
So it was bit surprising when Smith joined the Clippers this offseason for one-year, $2 million contract. The writing was on the wall as the Rockets committed elsewhere with Corey Brewer and Patrick Beverley and hoped to give minutes to Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas.
Nothing has gone to plan for the Rockets during the 2015-16 season. Head coach Kevin McHale was fired after a slow start, but the team still shows the same lack of effort and drive that was missing before McHale's departure. Jones has been inconstant and Motiejunas is still dealing with injuries.
While on the west coast, Smith was averaging 5.7 points in 14.3 minutes a game with the Clippers. But, it appeared Clippers general manager and head coach Doc Rivers had moved on from Smith -- how didn't play in three of his last five games as a Clipper.
The Clippers are now the second team happy to pay Josh Smith to play somewhere else as the team gives Houston cash with Smith.
The reports now out of Houston that Smith was highly respected in the Rockets locker room.
Josh Smith valuable locker room guy in Houston. Well respected by Harden, Howard especially.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 22, 2016
Is Smith the missing piece in the chemistry set that made the 2014-15 Rockets so great? What does it say about the Rockets core that they view Smith as a key locker room guy?