Sergei Lishouk

Rockets Acquire Josh Smith From Clippers

Kelvin Kuo / USA TODAY Sports Images

Kelvin Kuo / USA TODAY Sports Images

12:18pm: The deal is official, the Rockets and Clippers announced. It’s Smith, the rights to Lishouk and cash to Houston in exchange for the rights to Leunen.

10:24am: The teams still haven’t made any formal announcements, but Rockets GM Daryl Morey gave confirmation of the deal via Twitter.

“Welcome back Josh Smith! #bandbacktogether,” Morey tweeted.

9:31am: Josh Smith is headed back to the Rockets via trade from the Clippers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Wojnarowski indicates the deal has already taken place, though the teams have yet to make an announcement. The Clippers are sending Smith along with enough cash to cover Houston’s salary obligation to the veteran big man, who’s on a one-year deal for the minimum, and the Rockets are sending draft-and-stash prospects to the Clippers, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter links). One of those is Maarty Leunen, the 54th overall pick from 2008 who plays for Sidigas Avellino of Italy. Draft-and-stash prospect Sergei Lishouk, the 49th overall pick from 2004 who’s with Murcia of Spain, is going from the Clippers to Houston, the Yahoo scribe also reports (Twitter links).

The Clippers had thought about waiving Smith, Wojnarowski writes in a full story, and he’s wanted off the team for a while, having feuded with coach/executive Doc Rivers about his role, according to Calvin Watkins of (Twitter link). His personality was also a poor fit with his Clippers teammate, Watkins adds, though he was well-respected in the Houston locker room after playing for the Rockets last season (Twitter links). James Harden and Dwight Howard are particular fans, according to Watkins, and several Rockets players wanted him to return, league sources told Wojnarowski. Smith thought he would have to take a reduced role this season if he re-signed with the Rockets this past summer, leading him to sign with the Clippers instead, Watkins tweets, but he has regretted that decision, Wojnarowski writes.

The deal would be legal with Smith as the only NBA player changing hands, because Houston can absorb him via the minimum-salary exception, though it would bring the team within $1MM of its $88.74MM hard cap. The Rockets have been carrying an open roster spot, so no corresponding move would be necessary. Conversely, the deal would open a roster spot for the Clippers, who’ve been at the limit of 15 players. Both the Rockets and Clippers are taxpaying teams, though Smith represented a greater tax obligation to L.A. than he will for Houston, since the Clippers are further above the tax threshold and thus subject to additional penalties. Sending out Smith without taking an NBA player in return would allow the Clippers to create a $947,276 trade exception, equivalent to the portion of Smith’s salary paid by the team. Smith’s actual salary is $1,499,187, and the league is paying the difference. Leunen and Lishouk aren’t expected to play in the NBA, according to Wojnarowski, so the essential components of the deal for the Clippers are the tax savings, the open roster spot, and the ability to move on from Smith.

The Clippers have considered either trading or releasing Smith for most of the season, according to Dan Woike of The Orange County Register (Twitter link). Rivers in December denied a report from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports that the Clippers gauged trade interest around the league in Smith and Lance Stephenson during November. Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops reported last week that the Clippers were making Smith available. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher said earlier this week that the Clippers felt as though they’d be better off in the long run if they could trade Smith and Stephenson, which lines up with his report from December.

Is Smith the right addition for the Rockets? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Sixers Acquire Jared Cunningham

6:58pm: The trade is official, the Clippers have announced. Los Angeles sent Cunningham, the draft rights to Akyol and cash considerations to the Sixers in exchange for the draft rights to Lishuk. The deal allows the Clippers to create a trade exception worth $915,243, the equivalent of Cunningham’s salary. Philadelphia has yet to make an announcement, and the Sixers couldn’t have traded for Cunningham without offloading someone, since they were carrying a 15-man roster, so it would seem there’s another part of the equation still to be revealed.

6:25pm: The Clippers will receive the rights to Serhiy Lishuk from the Sixers, and Philadelphia will acquire the rights to Cenk Akyol, Bolch reports (Twitter link). Akyol, 27, was selected in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft, and Lishuk, 32, was the No. 49 overall pick in the 2004 draft.

4:52pm: The Sixers and Clippers will also be swapping rights to draft picks as part of the deal, Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times tweets.

2:32pm: The Clippers have inquired about Wroten, but those are preliminary talks, according to John Gonzalez of (Twitter link).

2:01pm: It’ll be cash going Philly’s way from the Clippers, and the Sixers will indeed waive Cunningham once they acquire him, Wojnarowski tweets.

1:59pm: The Clippers aren’t taking any players back in the deal, according to Wojnarowski (on Twitter). That means the Sixers would have to offload someone before the deal can become official.

1:56pm: Tony Wroten is the Clips’ target in the deal, according to Dan Woike of the Orange County Register (on Twitter). Wroten, who’s averaging 30.5 minutes per game for Philly, is on a guaranteed rookie-scale contract that would further tighten the squeeze under the team’s hard cap.

1:53pm: The Sixers are unlikely to keep Cunningham once they acquire him, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times counters that the Clips are merely exploring a move that will affect whether or not they waive Cunningham (Twitter link).

1:38pm: The Clippers are trading Jared Cunningham to the Sixers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Cunningham has a non-guaranteed deal and the Clippers were set to waive him in advance of today’s deadline to do so before his minimum salary would have become guaranteed for the balance of the season. Philadelphia has 15 players on its roster, so it’ll need to either send someone to L.A. or make a corresponding move. That’s true even if the Sixers don’t intend to keep Cunningham, as is often the case with the veterans the Sixers acquire via trade.

Trading Cunningham instead of releasing him would help the Clippers financially, since it would remove his entire salary from their books, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). The Clippers would be stuck with the money they had already paid to Cunningham this year counting against their hard cap if they were to waive him. The team is less than $1MM shy of its hard cap, a collective bargaining agreement feature it triggered when it gave out the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception to Spencer Hawes and the biannual exception to Jordan Farmar.

Cunningham, the 24th overall pick in the 2012 draft, has only played in 40 career NBA regular season games, 19 of which have come this season after he showed enough in the preseason to make the team out of training camp. Still, he’s averaged 1.8 points in just 4.7 minutes per game for the Clippers.

Rockets Acquire Corey Brewer

8:15pm: The trade is official, the Rockets have announced in a press release. Houston received Alexey Shved from the Sixers and Corey Brewer from the Wolves. Minnesota received Troy Daniels, along with the Kings’ 2015 second round pick (protected for picks 50-60), Houston’s 2016 second round pick (protected for picks 31-45) and cash considerations from the Rockets. Philadelphia received Houston’s 2015 second round pick and the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk from the Rockets, and Ronny Turiaf from Minnesota. The Rockets have also officially waived Francisco Garcia to reduce their roster count to 15.

5:52pm: The Sixers will also receive the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk from the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle reports (Twitter link). Lishouk was the No. 49 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft.

5:24pm: Alexey Shved is likely to head to the Rockets as part of the deal, and Turiaf will go to the Sixers, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter links). Houston intends to release Garcia rather than include him in the trade, Wojnarowski also notes.

2:58pm: The Wolves receive Sacramento’s 2015 second-round pick, which the Kings previously sent to the Rockets, as long as it’s within the top 49 selections, reports Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). The 2016 second-rounder going Minnesota’s way is Houston’s own, Zgoda adds.

2:48pm: Minnesota and Houston discussed Rockets swingman Francisco Garcia, Wolfson hears (Twitter link), though it’s unclear if he’ll be part of the final arrangement.

2:22pm: The Rockets are also sending cash to Minnesota in the deal, Feigen tweets.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves1:36pm: The Wolves and Rockets have struck a deal that will send Corey Brewer to Houston, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Troy Daniels heads to Minnesota as part of the deal, Wojnarowski also tweets. Ronny Turiaf, who’s likely out for the season, is headed to the Rockets, though there’s a decent chance that he’ll wind up on a third team, Wojnarowski adds (on Twitter). Minnesota-Houston deal itself is liable to involve another team, too, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). As the deal stands, two future second-round picks are also heading from the Rockets to Minnesota, one of which is the 2015 second-rounder that Houston had acquired from the Kings, though the draft considerations are still being hammered out, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

Houston GM Daryl Morey and his staff had been pushing to use a trade exception worth nearly $8.375MM by no later than today so that the Rockets could flip whomever they acquired in another trade that aggregates that player’s salary prior to the trade deadline. It’s not immediately clear what the other elements of the Brewer deal are, but the Rockets are indeed taking Brewer’s salary of nearly $4.703MM into the exception, as Wojnarowski writes in a full story and Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities tweets.

The teams first discussed a Brewer deal last month before Minnesota appeared to take him off the table amid injury woes. At the time it seemed as though Brewer’s suitors were pushing for him to waive his $4.905MM player option for next season, but it’s unclear if Houston was hung up on that notion or whether Brewer has indeed done so. The Cavs were also keen on acquiring Brewer both in November and this week, when Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders reignited the talks. Reports indicated that the Clippers had interest at both points, too, and the Heat were apparently eyeing Brewer at least during the initial round of talks.

Houston’s coaching staff is reportedly enamored with Brewer, and, as Wojnarowski writes, it’s primarily his defense at the small forward position that’s driven the Rockets to make the deal. Still, that’s somewhat odd, since the Rockets have given up the second fewest points per 100 possessions in the league so far, per, even without Brewer. His game seems an awkward fit for Houston, as I examined when I looked at Brewer’s trade candidacy. A November report from Feigen that first revealed Houston’s eagerness to use the trade exception, a vestige of this summer’s Jeremy Lin trade that doesn’t expire until this coming July, suggested that the Rockets were merely trying to bolster their rotation, regardless of fit. Thus, Houston could put together a more attractive trade offer in pursuit of a star at the deadline, when the Rockets would be able to aggregate the salary of whomever they used the exception on with other salaries.

The Wolves, who are in a rebuilding stage, as Saunders recently admitted, announced earlier this week that Turiaf is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing hip surgery. He’d appeared in only two games so far this season because of the lingering hip injury, and his contract, which pays him a guaranteed $1.5MM this year, is up at season’s end. Saunders indicated this week that Minnesota would waive Turiaf if an intriguing free agent came available, but instead the 10th-year veteran is departing the Wolves via trade.

Daniels is heading to Minnesota after re-signing with the Rockets this past summer on a two-year deal that’s fully guaranteed for the minimum salary. The 23-year-old swingman was surprising playoff hero for Houston last spring, but he’s seen just 6.4 minutes per game across 17 appearances for the Rockets this season.