Veteran forward Josh Smith wasn’t able to land a free agent deal this summer and with training camps commencing around the league this week, remains unsigned. Smith spoke with Shams Charania of The Vertical about his situation and admitted that if his NBA career is to continue, some internal changes will need to be made.
“I’m not a guy that is oblivious to my surroundings, I know that changes need to be made,” Smith told Charania. “It’s something that I have done wrong to now be figuring out my next move and figuring out what I need to do to be better. Even yoga this summer has helped me become one with my spirit, body and mind. I’ve done things to take steps toward bettering myself, having patience. I have a lot left to give to this game. I’m ready to go now. I feel like I’m in the best shape, and I’ve worked extremely hard this offseason. I’m ready.”
The 30-year-old believes the perception of him around the NBA changed when he was surprisingly waived by the Pistons just one season into his four-year, $58MM contract, Charania relays. “The perception of me seemed to start early on with Atlanta, but after Detroit, it left people completely puzzled,” Smith said. “People didn’t understand how it happened, how I was let go. It just didn’t fit. But wherever I have gone in development situations, I have been able to be on winning teams. When I came to Atlanta, we were at the bottom. Al Horford came, and we made it a consistent playoff team. When I went to Houston [in 2015] after Detroit, we made it to the Western Conference finals, something that they hadn’t done since the ’90s. I played impactful minutes for us to get to those platforms.”
Smith, who is earning $5,331,729 per year through 2019/20, courtesy of Detroit, turned down a lucrative offer to head overseas to China this season, Charania notes. The forward’s desire is to land an NBA roster spot and promises that he’s changed his habits on and off the court, the Vertical scribe adds. “My main goal is that I am an NBA player,” Smith said. “Being able to go overseas, people are professional, but the NBA is what I have built myself to do. I’m still hungry. If I jumped to leave my NBA chances behind, I feel it would’ve been an act of desperation. I’m not a guy who feels like I have to start or play 30 minutes a night anymore. I wish for an opportunity to be able to contribute, to be a positive guy around the locker room. It has been missing from me. I’m not doubting it. I felt I have always showed support for my teammates, cheering for them, but I have to do a better job. I feel I have something to give the NBA, period.”
Over 891 career NBA regular season contests, Smith has averages of 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.9 blocks in 32.5 minutes per outing. His career shooting line is .453/.285/.632.