Josh Smith

Mario Chalmers, Josh Smith Sign To Play In BIG3

Former NBA players Mario Chalmers and Josh Smith have both signed on to play in Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league this summer, according to a series of tweets from the league.

Chalmers, a two-time NBA champion with the Heat, currently plays with Virtus Bologna in Italy and is expected to join the BIG3 once his contract ends in June, as noted by Sportando. The BIG3 schedule is set to begin on June 22.

Chalmers played 66 games with the Grizzlies last season, starting in 10 contests and averaging 7.7 points, 3.7 assists and 21.5 minutes per contest. He played a key role on the Heat’s 2012 and 2013 championship teams, giving the team quality minutes as a starting point guard on both ends of the floor.

Smith, a versatile forward drafted 17th to Atlanta in 2004, holds 13 seasons of NBA experience with the Hawks, Pistons, Rockets, Clippers and Pelicans. He appeared in three games with New Orleans last season, getting waived two weeks after he was signed.

Longtime NBA veterans Joe Johnson and Al Jefferson also signed on to play in the BIG3 on Thursday, adding to a mix of talent that already includes Lamar Odom, Gilbert Arenas, Kendrick Perkins, and others.

The deadline for players to sign with the league is Tuesday, March 19. More player signing announcements are expected to be made in the coming weeks.

And-Ones: G League Draft, Chemistry, Trade Demands, Smith

With the NBA G League continuing to grow season by season, there are now more ways than ever (e.g. two-way players, affiliate players, etc.) for a G League franchise to build its roster. Accordingly, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days asks whether the NBA’s G League draft has ultimately already run its course.

As Johnson notes, 11 of the 27 players selected in the first round of the G League draft this season were waived before opening night, including three top-10 picks, while 18 of the 25 players selected in the second round have also been waived.

Because G League teams already have enough players committed to the season before the draft is even conducted, it’s an uphill battle for drafted players to make the team. Johnson ultimately opines that the draft should now only consist of two-to-three rounds, with only one required pick per team.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In an ESPN piece from multiple writers, team chemistry is analyzed for nine different franchises that made major offseason adjustments this summer or so far this season. Among other storylines, the fit of Kawhi Leonard for the Raptors and how both the Sixers and Timberwolves move on from the Jimmy Butler saga are discussed.
  • In light of the Butler storyline, Brian Windhorst of ESPN explores the dynamics created when a star player demands a trade, referencing Butler, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard in the process. As Windhorst ultimately opines, we shouldn’t expect to stop seeing players demand trades who have one year left on their contracts and are looking to go elsewhere in free agency.
  • In an interview with Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops, NBA veteran forward Josh Smith talks about his career thus far, his continued willingness to play, and his readiness to return to the NBA should the opportunity arise.

And-Ones: Barkley, J. Smith, D. Johnson, L. Brown

TNT analyst Charles Barkley has been outspoken about his desire to run an NBA team and he said in a recent interview that he thought the Magic were going to give him a chance last year, relays Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype. Barkley told radio station 98.7 FM Arizona that he was hoping for an interview in Orlando before the organization decided on Jeff Weltman as president of basketball operations and John Hammond as GM.

“They hired another one of those analytical idiots instead of just getting the best players,” Barkley said.

Barkley expressed interest in taking over the Sixers‘ front office in 2012 and the Suns‘ in both 2010 and 2013. Barkley didn’t indicate whether he wants to be a candidate to replace Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough, who was fired earlier this week.

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • At age 32, Josh Smith hasn’t give up hope of an NBA comeback, tweets Ben Stinar of AmicoHoops. Smith played three games for the Pelicans last year, but otherwise hasn’t been in the league since the end of the 2015/16 season. However, a source tells Stinar that Smith is working out and waiting for an opportunity.
  • Most teams made their final roster cuts before yesterday’s waiver deadline at 5pm Eastern, but a few still have decisions to make, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Players with non-guaranteed salaries have begun to receive daily payments that will count against their teams’ salary caps. The Suns, for instance, will owe Isaiah Canaan $19,858 if they wait until Monday to waive him.
  • The NBA has changed the way it will count days of service for two-way players, tweets ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. Travel days to and from the G League will no longer count against the 45-day limit.
  • Former Thunder center Dakari Johnson has opted to remain with Qingdao in China, contrary to a report earlier this week that he planned to leave, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The team’s GM confirmed Johnson’s decision.
  • Former NBA and NCAA coach Larry Brown recently traveled to the United States for minor surgery, Carchia tweets. Brown currently coaches Fiat Torino and will be re-evaluated by doctors next week to determine when he can return to Italy.

Pelicans Waive Josh Smith

The Pelicans have waived veteran forward Josh Smith, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link). The move reduces New Orleans’ roster count from 16 to 15, since the team made use of a hardship exception to initially sign Smith.

Smith, who will turn 32 next month, barely saw any action during his two weeks with the Pelicans, appearing in three games and playing just 12 total minutes. New Orleans had added him using an extra roster spot the club was granted due to having at least four players who had missed three or more games.

It’s not clear if any of the injured Pelicans players are on the verge of returning. Based on recovery timetables announced by the team, Frank Jackson and Solomon Hill will likely be out for a while yet, but Rajon Rondo and Alexis Ajinca may be closer to getting back on the court. Omer Asik has also been sidelined this season due to health issues.

Smith, signed on October 28, received a non-guaranteed deal, so the Pelicans will only be on the hook for a small prorated portion of his minimum salary. The club will carry a cap hit of approximately $211K for Smith’s brief stint in New Orleans, as Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.

Pelicans Notes: Smith, Davis, Cousins, Holiday

The veterans minimum contract for Josh Smith, who formally signed with the Pelicans this afternoon after several days of waiting, will cost the team $13,156 per day, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. With a team salary slightly more than $122.7MM, New Orleans was roughly $1MM below the luxury tax before adding Smith. He is the latest veteran signing for a team that added Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen over the offseason, then reached a deal with Jameer Nelson after he was waived by the Nuggets.

“Being able to get this call, I feel like it was a second chance and a breath of fresh air,” Smith told Christian Boutwell of The Advocate. “I thank the New Orleans Pelicans organization for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to continue to do what I love to do.”

There’s more today out of New Orleans:

  • The Pelicans’ complementary players have hampered the pairing of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Although both big men are able to initiate the offense from the perimeter, the talent around them don’t shoot well enough to provide spacing, O’Connor adds. Ian Clark is the team’s best career 3-point shooter at 37.2%, and E’Twaun Moore, Nelson and Jrue Holiday are the only others above 36%. Front office sources tell O’Connor they don’t expect any significant roster changes from the Pelicans for the rest of the season, unless they fall far out of playoff contention by the deadline. He notes that the chances of Cousins signing with the Lakers when he hits free agency next summer remain very real.
  • The Pelicans will need a playoff appearance to improve their chances of keeping Cousins, suggests Sam Amick of USA Today. Cousins has spent eight seasons in the league without reaching the postseason and will be more inclined to look elsewhere if he misses for a second straight year in New Orleans. Amick writes that Cousins is currently the star player most likely to change teams next summer.
  • Holiday had his best game of the season Thursday in sparking a comeback in Sacramento, boosting the team’s hopes that he can handle his new backcourt role, writes William Guillory of The Times-Picayune. New Orleans is counting on Holiday to take on more of the scoring load, and he delivered 20 points in the win over the Kings. “Jrue was incredible,” Cousins said. “We’ve been pushing him to just be an aggressive guard at all times. I feel like no guard in this league can guard him one-on-one. He came out and he was aggressive and made some huge plays for us.”

Pelicans Sign Josh Smith

October 28, 4:51pm: The move is official, the Pelicans announced on their website. Smith will be available for tonight’s game against the Cavaliers.

October 28, 1:44pm: Smith will sign with the Pelicans Saturday after receiving a letter of clearance, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The letter was required because Smith last played overseas, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes.

October 26, 9:34pm: Smith is in town for the Kings-Pelicans game but didn’t end up signing a contract before the game as he had hoped, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets. It sounds as if the deal will be finalized on Friday.

October 26, 7:17pm: Smith has flown to Sacramento, hoping to sign a contract with the Pelicans before their matchup with the Kings at 9:30 CST, Marc Spears of The Undefeated tweets.

October 25, 5:51pm: Free agent forward Josh Smith plans to sign with the Pelicans, reports Shams Charania of the Vertical (via Twitter). According to Charania, a corresponding roster move won’t be necessary for New Orleans, since the team will be granted an extra roster spot via an injury hardship exception.Josh Smith vertical

Smith, who will turn 32 in December, didn’t play in the NBA at all last season, last appearing in the league during the 2015/16 campaign. He played in 55 total games that year for the Clippers and Rockets, averaging 6.0 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 16.0 minutes per contest, with a career-worst .364 FG%.

In search of an NBA opportunity this year, Smith worked out for the Pelicans in late August. Although that audition didn’t lead to anything at the time, New Orleans is now circling back to the former first-round pick in an effort to add some depth to a roster hit hard by injuries.

Currently, the Pelicans are without Solomon Hill, Rajon Rondo, Omer Asik, Frank Jackson, and Alexis Ajinca. Anthony Davis is also banged up for New Orleans — an MRI on his injured knee reportedly showed no structural damage, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to get back on the court right away.

The Pelicans are eligible for a hardship exception because they have four or more players who have missed at least three consecutive games apiece due to injury or illness. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Smith qualifies for that 16th spot on the roster because he’s signing a non-guaranteed deal. With Smith set to join a group that already includes Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins, and Tony Allen, the Pelicans’ roster will feature some of the NBA’s most interesting personalities.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Pierce, Josh Smith, Morris Twins

After announcing his retirement from the NBA following the 2016/17 season, 10-time All-Star Paul Pierce has lined up a new job. According to a press release issued today by ESPN, Pierce is joining the network as a studio analyst for the upcoming season. The longtime NBA forward will appear regularly on ESPN’s NBA Countdown and The Jump.

“I always had fun doing guest coverage with ESPN, so it is exciting to officially join the teams at NBA Countdown and The Jump,” Pierce said in a statement. “I love hoops, my whole life has been about the game, so this feels like a natural evolution in my career and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • As he continues to look for an NBA opportunity, veteran forward Josh Smith has caught on with Israeli team Maccabi Hunter Haifa for a three-game tour against NBA teams this October, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando details. Smith worked out for the Pelicans and has been linked to the Rockets this offseason, but hasn’t landed an NBA contract.
  • Closing arguments in the assault trial involving Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris are expected to be heard by jurors today, per an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Depending on the outcome of the trial, the Wizards and Celtics forwards could face NBA discipline, not to mention possible jail time.
  • While not every player to change teams this offseason moved to a better situation, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated identifies seven players whose new NBA homes should pay dividends. Kyrie Irving (Celtics), Paul George (Thunder), and Nick Young (Warriors) are among Spears’ picks.
  • After seeing how long it took for a number of restricted free agents to secure new contracts this offseason, a number of extension-eligible players may be more inclined to get deals done now, rather than taking their chances on the RFA market next summer, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) writes in his latest breakdown of NBA roster moves. T.J. Warren of the Suns was the first player to complete such a deal this week.

Pelicans Work Out Josh Smith, Other Veterans

The Pelicans worked out a number of veteran players that could potentially be used to fill the void at small forward in the wake of Solomon Hill‘s hamstring injury, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed on his podcast. Included in the workout were Josh Smith, Chase Budinger and Martell Webster.

While Wojnarowski questions the decision to bring in a handful of players with spotty track records to fill such a vital role for a Pels team with playoff intentions, New Orleans will need to come up with a solution if they can’t quickly lock down Dante Cunningham.

As we discussed on Tuesday, the Pelicans are trying to bring Cunningham back on a minimum deal but are facing strong competition from Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves. Cunningham has served as a spot starter for the Pels on and off over the course of the past three seasons.

Of the three vets Wojnarowski mentions to have worked out for the franchise, it’s Smith who had the most significant NBA tenure but he’s also likely the least natural small forward of the three as well.

For nine seasons Smith helped anchor a Hawks team that gradually became one of the Eastern Conference’s most reliable contenders but things began to unravel when he signed a free agent deal with the Pistons ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

Since then, Smith has bounced from the Pistons to the Rockets and Clippers and has found himself out of the league altogether since 2015/16.

Famously criticized for his tendency to shoot long twos, Smith’s inclusion in a Pelicans rotation already built around two traditional big men causes consternation and, in the eyes of Wojnarowski, won’t exactly help the franchise woo superstar Anthony Davis, whose name has come up as a coveted trade target for the Celtics.

Budinger, like Smith, hasn’t suited up for an NBA team since the 2015/16 season, while Webster hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since 2014/15.

Mutual Interest Between Josh Smith, Rockets?

Josh Smith may be ready to sign up for his third tour of duty with the Rockets, tweets Kelly Iko of EPSN 97.5 in Houston. Iko adds that the the veteran forward is “very interested” in returning to the team, and an agreement could be reached soon.

Smith spent part of last season with the Sichuan Blue Whales in the Chinese Basketball Association. He appeared in 26 games before leaving the team in late January.

Smith’s last NBA experience came with the Rockets at the end of the 2015/16 season after the team picked him up in a midseason trade with the Clippers. Smith played in 23 games, mostly as a reserve, and averaged 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds.

He also played for Houston for part of the 2014/15 season after agreeing to a buyout with the Pistons. Smith appeared in 55 games that year and helped the team reach the Western Conference finals.

Smith, who will receive $5.4MM annually from Detroit through the 2019/20 season, has been working out with Rockets players in Houston while trying to get another shot at the NBA.

Cavaliers Notes: Sanders, J. Smith, D. Williams

The Cavaliers reached an agreement today with free agent center Larry Sanders, who hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since December 2014. Although Sanders has been preparing this season to make a comeback, he probably isn’t ready to jump into the Cavs’ rotation right away, so the team intends to take it slow with him.

According to David Aldridge of TNT (via Twitter), the plan for Sanders is to have him play games with the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, for the rest of the regular season. Sanders would still practice with the Cavs, but the goal would be to get him in shape and ready to contribute for the NBA team in the postseason, per Aldridge.

As we wait to see how that plan works, let’s check in on a few more Cavs-related notes…

  • Before reaching a deal with Sanders, the Cavaliers also talked to veteran free agent forward Josh Smith, says Shams Charania of The Vertical. Although there was contact between the Cavs and Smith, the club was focused on getting something done with Sanders, Charania adds.
  • Sanders’ contract will reportedly include a non-guaranteed salary for 2017/18 that essentially functions as a team option. That option was “vital” for the Cavs, sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. As Amico notes, Cleveland wanted the ability to retain the big man for another year in case he flourishes down the stretch this season.
  • Although Andrew Bogut‘s time in Cleveland will come to a premature end, the team’s other recent free agent addition is working out well. As Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal details, backup point guard Deron Williams is drawing rave reviews from head coach Tyronn Lue and his Cavs teammates.