Josh Smith Rumors: Heat, Clippers, Lakers

Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy pulled a stunner today, waiving Josh Smith. Reports quickly identified the Clippers, Mavs and Kings as suitors for Smith in free agency once he clears waivers, as expected, and more clubs are lining up for a chance to obtain him on the cheap. There’s plenty of news rolling in related to Detroit’s bold move and what happens next with the tweener forward, and we’ll pass along the latest in this thread, with any additional updates posted on top:

  • The Heat have formally applied for a disabled player exception from the league after losing Josh McRoberts for the year, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. While the exception, which would be worth $2.653MM, hasn’t been granted yet, the Heat are hopeful they’ll have it before Smith makes his decision (Twitter links here).

9:46pm update:

  • The Clippers will have interest in Smith if he clears waivers, ESPN’s Arash Markazi hears from multiple team sources. Markazi adds that the team can only offer Smith the veteran’s minimum and would likely cut Jared Cunningham to make room on its roster. Cunningham’s contract becomes guaranteed on January 10th and he is likely to be released before then either way, per Markazi.

8:51pm update:

  • Should Smith clear waivers, the Lakers will have a significant financial advantage over most of his other suitors, writes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. The disabled player exception they received from Steve Nash‘s season-ending injury allows the Lakers spend up to $4.85MM on a single player, per Pincus, which is more than twice what most other teams can offer. Pincus adds that the Lakers should have the cap space next summer to re-sign Smith.

7:14pm updates:

  • There is a strong belief among Rockets players, even beyond Howard, that they’ll convince Smith to sign in Houston, reports Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that Smith “fits the profile of the type of guys we love to bring in,” reports Bryan Gutierrez of Mavs Outsider. Cuban added that the Mavs would use Smith more down low than on the wing should they add him, per Gutierrez (Twitter links).
  • While it’s hardly a surprise, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today reports that the Sixers, flush in cap space, have zero interest in claiming Smith off waivers (via Twitter).

4:05pm update:

  • The Grizzlies have expressed interest in Smith, too, Grantland’s Zach Lowe hears, acknowledging that it’s nonetheless a long shot for him to wind up in Memphis (Twitter link). The Grizzlies couldn’t pay him any more than the minimum.

3:49pm update:

  • The Lakers would like Smith to play for them, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), but they wouldn’t fall into the category of a playoff-bound team, the only sort that Smith is reportedly considering (below).

1:55pm update:

  • Teams that aren’t headed for the playoffs are out of the running for Smith, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM. That stance would appear to damage the chances of the Kings most of all among the clubs that reports have so far linked to the forward.

1:40pm update:

  • Smith was “fixated” on finding a way to join the Rockets before he signed with Detroit in 2013, according to Wojnarowski, who writes in a full piece.

1:05pm updates:

  • The Heat are in the running for Smith, Stein reports (on Twitter). Miami has only the minimum to give.
  • Houston will allow Smith to choose whether he wants a one-year or two-year deal, Amick hears (Twitter link). The biannual exception limits contracts to no more than two seasons, and the Rockets are without a way to sign him to a longer deal.

12:39pm update:

  • The Rockets are taking an aggressive stance in their pursuit of Smith, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). They attempted to trade for him but couldn’t find a workable salary match that didn’t involved Howard or James Harden, Wojnarowski adds in a second tweet.

12:28pm updates:

  • Houston will offer Smith its $2.077MM biannual exception, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The Rockets are optimistic about their chances to land Smith, given their status as a contender, the opportunity to offer him a large on-court role, and their financial advantage of having the biannual while others are limited to the minimum salary, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
  • No one has been a bigger fan of Smith in recent months than Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, according to Stein (Twitter link).

12:17pm updates:

  • The Clippers would like to research the matter more thoroughly before committing to a pursuit of Smith, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Though Marc Stein of hears the Clippers are indeed interested, coach/executive Doc Rivers said he doesn’t know quite yet what his team will do, as he told reporters, including Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets do have interest in signing Smith, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link). Stein reported earlier that Houston, which has the $2.077MM biannual exception to spend, was still thinking about whether it wanted to go after Smith, who’s a friend of Dwight Howard‘s. Howard has said in the past that he and Smith have had conversations about playing together again as they did when they were AAU teammates, notes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • The Kings were the only team to express interest in trading for Smith as the Pistons sought to move him in recent weeks, Stein tweets. The Pistons refused to part with draft picks in any deal or take on burdensome contracts in return, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • Derrick Williams was alongside Jason Thompson in the Kings‘ earliest trade proposals to the Pistons regarding Smith over the summer, and Carl Landry later replaced Williams in those offers, according to Stein (on Twitter). Van Gundy turned them down because he wanted to coach Smith before cutting ties, Stein adds (Twitter link).
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