Josh Smith

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 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.

Cavs Working Out Hinrich, Chalmers, Stephenson

The Cavaliers are surveying the free agent market in search of potential reinforcements, according to Chris Haynes of, who reports that the team will work out several veteran players on Wednesday. Kirk Hinrich, Mario Chalmers, and Lance Stephenson are among the players scheduled to audition for Cleveland, per Haynes.

[RELATED: LeBron James, Cavs at odds over team payroll]

Having made a two-for-one trade when they acquired Kyle Korver earlier this month, the Cavaliers have had an open roster spot for the last few weeks, and could potentially create another one if they decide to waive Chris Andersen, who is out for the year with a torn ACL. Sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking tell Haynes that one of the participants in Wednesday’s workout could be signed before the All-Star break, using that roster opening.

Some of the veteran free agents participating in the Cavaliers’ workout on Wednesday will be out to prove that they’re healthy. Chalmers has been recovering from a torn Achilles for most of the season, but is believed to be ready to return to action. Stephenson, meanwhile, was cut by the Pelicans in the fall after he suffered a groin injury. Like Chalmers, Stephenson is said to be healthy now, according to Haynes.

While one of the participants in Wednesday’s workout could become a Cav, the team is considering many options to fortify its roster, including possible trade scenarios. Former NBA forward Josh Smith is among the other free agents on the club’s radar as well, sources tell Sam Amico of (Twitter link). The Cleveland front office has been under pressure from LeBron James to add a “playmaker” to the roster to help lighten the load for the team’s stars.

Based on the Cavs’ current tax situation, any player added to the roster will count as $2.50 toward the team’s tax bill for every $1 he earns.

Josh Smith To Play In China

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.

In Sichuan, Smith will be joining a team coming off a championship win earlier this year. Former NBA players Mike Harris and Hamed Haddadi are among the leading scorers for the Blue Whales.

Chinese Team Interested In Josh Smith

Josh Smith may be nearing a deal to play in China, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. The Sichuan Whales are interested in the 30-year-old forward, who spent 12 years in the NBA.

Smith divided last year between the Clippers and Rockets, playing 55 total games and averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per night. He also spent nine years in Atlanta and a season and a half with Detroit.

Smith, who wasn’t invited to any training camp, gave an interview in September where he said he understood that he needed to change his mindset to continue his NBA career. He also claimed the perception of him around the league changed when he was released by the Pistons after signing a four-year, $58MM deal. Smith agreed to a buyout with Detroit, so he will earn $5,331,729 annually through the 2019/20 season.

Josh Smith Admits He Needs To Change

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.

And-Ones: Spurs, Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili aren’t certain whether they’ll retire, as Michael C. Wright of details, but they’re not the only Spurs liable to hang it up in the wake of the team’s playoff elimination Thursday night. Andre Miller has strongly considered retirement, though he, too, hasn’t made up his mind yet, as he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). San Antonio’s contract with the 40-year-old Miller expires at the end of next month while Duncan, also 40, and Ginobili, who turns 39 in July, have player options. David West also has a player option, and though he turns 36 over the offseason, the talk surrounding him isn’t of retirement but of the lack of regrets he has about sacrificing roughly $11MM to sign his two-year minimum-salary contract with San Antonio last summer, as Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News-Express relays (Twitter links).

“It’s been a great experience,” West said of his season with the Spurs. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

See more from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics, Sixers, Pistons, Nuggets, Pacers and Trail Blazers all benefited this season from set-off rights, reducing their obligations to waived players who had guaranteed salary remaining on their contracts, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. Boston saved $620,306 from the money it owed David Lee because he signed a deal with the Mavs that paid more than $845,059, a figure equivalent to the one-year veteran’s minimum salary, Pincus writes. The Sixers saved $227,241 on JaVale McGee the same way. The Nuggets were spared $68,144 on Pablo Prigioni, the Pacers avoided paying $159,900 to Toney Douglas and the Trail Blazers shaved $327,064 from their bill for Mike Miller, according to Pincus. The Pistons saved $341,353 on Josh Smith, though that figure will be spread evenly over each season of the five-year obligation Detroit still has to him because the team used the stretch provision.
  • The Pistons also got cap relief for Aaron Gray, whom they owe $452,049 each season from 2015/16 through 2017/18, Pincus points out. Gray had to retire because of a heart condition, but a team can remove the cap hit for a player who had to retire because of a medical reason one year after his final game. Gray last played in 2014. Detroit still must pay the money to Gray, but it doesn’t count against the team’s cap, Pincus notes.
  • Agent Jason Glushon and the Wasserman agency mutually agreed to part ways, and Glushon will start his own agency, a source told Spears (Twitter link). Glushon has a short list of clients, with none more prominent than Hawks soon-to-be free agent Al Horford, who left Wasserman, Glushon and B.J. Armstrong to sign with Bill Duffy of BDA Sports last fall only to rejoin Wasserman a couple of months later. Jrue Holiday and Norman Powell are other Glushon clients.

Western Notes: Kings, Clippers, Rockets, Warriors

The Kings will try to make defensive improvements at the trade deadline, GM Vlade Divac said on “The Grant Napear Show” on CBS Sports 1140 in Sacramento, tweets James Ham of CSN California. The Rockets would prefer to add a shooter via trade, Calvin Watkins of hears (Twitter link). The Clippers are expected to assess their need for a backup point guard with Austin Rivers injured, according to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). The Warriors, meanwhile, aren’t looking to fix what isn’t broken, as GM Bob Myers said in a radio appearance on 95.7 The Game, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group relays (Twitter link).

“It’d have to be something unbelievable to really mess with the chem & the personnel on the team,” Myers said.

See more from the Western Conference:

  • Divac acknowledged that he was thinking about making a coaching change and had full authority to do so, but simply decided against it, as he said in an appearance on “The Grant Napear Show” on CBSports 1140 in Sacramento, notes Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV in Sacramento (Twitter link). However, the resistance that Kings minority-share owners put up against eating the rest of George Karl‘s salary also played into the decision to keep the coach, as Brian Windhorst of said today in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” show (audio link), and as RealGM transcribes. That jibes with an earlier suggestion from Sam Amick of USA Today. Vivek Ranadive owns a controlling share of the team, but it doesn’t constitute a majority of the franchise, Windhorst points out.
  • Communication with management didn’t go smoothly for former Kings coach Tyrone Corbin last season, as he said this week on SiriusXM NBA Radio’s “NBA Today” show (Twitter link; audio link). “It was a mess. The organization was kind of playing it both ways,” Corbin said.
  • Bryce Dejean-Jones and the Pelicans have only slightly different figures in mind, Scott Kushner of The New Orleans Advocate hears, advancing his earlier report that the rookie shooting guard is in talks with the Pels and other teams (Twitter links). The shooting guard is seeking a two- or three-year deal following the expiration of his second 10-day contract with New Orleans on Wednesday, Kushner adds. The Pelicans are ineligible to sign him to any more 10-day deals.
  • The Rockets offered Josh Smith more money in free agency last summer than the minimum-salary deal he signed with the Clippers, Rockets GM Daryl Morey said on the “Chad, Joe & Lo” show on 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area (audio link; transcription via HoopsHype). Smith wound up with the Rockets anyway via trade.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Morris, Weems

Thanks to the rash of backcourt injuries that have plagued the Suns this season, Sonny Weems is finally getting his opportunity to play, and the shooting guard hopes to demonstrate how valuable he can be to the team, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “I think I can do a lot more,” Weems said. “I think I’m a more complete player than most think I am. It’s still a long season. I still have got time to show the complete game that I have.”

Weems noted that he still tries to speak regularly with his former CSKA Moscow coach, Ettore Messina, who is an assistant with the Spurs, but he runs into trouble doing so, Coro adds. “I’m stuck here for the next two years and he’s there so we can’t talk about anything,” said Weems, whose deal includes a team option for next season. The guard did note that he appreciates the opportunity Phoenix has given him but he wants a more substantial role, Coro relays. “I actually like Phoenix,” Weems said. “You really can’t complain when you see the sun shine every day and it’s 70 degrees. I really like it. As far as playing time, I wish I had more playing time. Of course, every NBA player wishes he could play a lot more. I understand the business. I’m just waiting my turn. When it comes, I’m going to be ready. I love Phoenix.”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers notes that power forward Blake Griffin, who is expected to miss up to two months after breaking his right hand in an altercation with the team’s equipment manager, is genuinely remorseful for the incident, Kevin Arnovitz of relays. “He feels awful about it, and he’s let everyone know that,” Rivers said. “That’s all you can do. You have to forgive people at some point. I believe that. We built Richard Nixon a library. I mean, my goodness. You forgive people. You really do. You kind of move on, and you build it back.” Rivers also noted that the franchise will defer to the league in regard to any discipline meted out, Arnovitz adds. “Both parties will get together,” Rivers said. “Usually the league leads on that stuff.
  • It’s still a matter of when, not if, the Suns will trade Markieff Morris, executives from around the league tell Marc Stein of, but Phoenix is holding tight in search of better offers with his market value trending relatively low, according to Stein.
  • The Clippers sent $456,921 to the Rockets as part of the Josh Smith trade, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders notes (on Twitter).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Karl, D-League, Smith

Kings coach George Karl, a two-time cancer survivor, says that he’s healthy but his well-being is always a concern for him after his previous scares, Joe Davidson of The Sacramento Bee writes. “Cancer hangs with you,” Karl told Davidson. “You always wonder. If you wake up in the morning and your stomach hurts, you wonder if it’s stomach cancer. If your back hurts, same thing. If it’s a headache in a place you’re not used to having a headache, you wonder. Every little ache and pain makes you question your health. And you value every day that you’re healthy. No question, health has moved into my priority more than it ever has in my life. In my coaching journey, balance is becoming more important in my life.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Josh Smith feels completely comfortable as a member of the Rockets, and the team should benefit from his return to Houston, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “We understand Josh and his teammates understand him,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Josh just wants to hoop. That’s where the problems come in, because if he doesn’t get to play, like any competitor, you want to play and you’ve proven you can play. So for us there’s a fit, and Josh and I go back a long way. We have a good understanding of one another. And even with Mac [former coach Kevin McHale], because of Mac’s personality, Josh could thrive with him.
  • The NBA D-League is not a surefire way for aging veteran players to make their way back into the NBA, Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor writes. In his analysis of D-League trends, Reichert notes that since the 2011/12 season there have been 220 NBA call ups and only 10 of those have gone to players at least 30 years old with at least 100 games of NBA experience already under their belts. As the league continues to expand, older players may have a tougher time catching on with D-League teams since NBA franchises will look to use their affiliates to develop younger players, Reichert adds.
  • The Thunder recalled Josh Huestis and Mitch McGary from their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This was McGary’s fifth stint with the Blue on the season and Huestis’ ninth.
  • The Raptors have assigned Lucas Nogueira, Norman Powell and Delon Wright to their D-League affiliate, the team announced.