Rockets Notes: McHale, Smith, Johnson

Rockets coach Kevin McHale didn’t talk to anyone about Josh Smith before the forward arrived in Houston, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Smith came to Houston with a questionable reputation after being waived by the Pistons December 22nd, but the coach said that didn’t influence any of his decisions. “The minute I start talking to him, I form my own opinion,” McHale said. “I don’t listen to anybody else. I never have. I’m friends with a lot of people that people don’t like. I deal with people how they deal with me. If he had a problem with anybody else, it didn’t bother me. He’s been great here.”

There’s other news from Houston:

  • Smith returned to Detroit Saturday night, and Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports that the crowd loudly expressed its displeasure. Pistons fans booed Smith the first time he stood up to come into the game and every time he touched the ball. Smith, who spent less than a season and a half in Detroit, said he wasn’t bothered by the hostile reception. “It wasn’t emotional to me because I haven’t been here long enough to feel any kind of weight,” he said. “The booing didn’t affect me.”
  • Smith has settled into a reserve role in Houston, but Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy tells Feigen for a separate piece that he never considered using Smith off the bench before making the decision to waive him. “He’s in a totally different situation, with a totally different team, in a totally different role,” Van Gundy said. “People around him are not even similar. Possibly, we could have done that. I just don’t know. How he would have played here probably would not have changed a lot. He just would have been coming off the bench.”
  • The Rockets have recalled guard Nick Johnson from their D-League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley, the team announced. Johnson, the 42nd pick in last year’s NBA draft, appeared in three games for the Vipers, averaging 21.7 points, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. He has seen limited playing time in Houston, averaging 3.2 points in 17 games.
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