Longtime NBA forward Josh Smith will be heading overseas for the coming season, according to international basketball journalist David Pick, who reports (via Twitter) that Smith is joining the Sichuan Whales, the reigning champs in the Chinese Basketball Association. A source tells Pick that the short-term deal will be worth $1.5MM+.
For Smith, it’s a change of direction, as he had reportedly turned down a lucrative offer to play in China earlier this year. Back in September, the 30-year-old said that his “main goal” was to continue playing in the NBA, and that if he had “jumped to leave [his] NBA chances behind, it would’ve been an act of desperation.” A month and a half later, apparently with no appealing NBA opportunities available, Smith is heading to China after all.
A 17th overall pick back in 2004, Smith has already spent 12 seasons in the NBA, despite the fact that he won’t turn 31 for another month. In 891 career regular season contests for the Hawks, Pistons, Rockets, and Clippers, the veteran forward has averaged 14.6 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.9 BPG, and 1.2 SPG. He has also appeared in 73 career postseason games.