Rockets Free Agency: Josh Smith On The Move?

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Jan 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets forward Josh Smith (5) reacts against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Clippers were able to successfully pry DeAndre Jordan away from a verbal commitment with the Mavs with a four-year $80 million deal, they still have interest in trying to land Smith’s services.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports:

The club has also reached out to Brian Dyke and Wallace Prather, Smith’s agents per Brad Turner of the L.A. Times.

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  • Although it’s well understood the Clips will be operating near at the luxury tax threshold of $84.7 million for 2015-16, they can still use a portion of the mid-level exception (about $5.5 million) money to sign Smith.

    A part of that will be apportioned to veteran gunslinger Paul Pierce, who verbally committed to join the Clips with a three-year, $10.5 million agreement but has not signed yet.

    This leaves the Clips with $2.1 million left of that MLE money to sign Smith and with Jordan back in the mix, it makes Los Angeles a more attractive landing spot for Smith.

    The Kings also have “strong interest” in J-Smoove according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:

    According to Dana Gaurduer of Hoops Rumors, the Kings have about $7 million in cap space to sign Smith which would be more than enough room to add him to the roster.

    It’s just a matter of if he wants to go there — likely not.

    They haven’t even spoken with Smith’s reps yet.

    And, of course, because the Mavs are now in scrambling mode after being left at the altar when Jordan decided to return to the Clippers, they too are interested in Smith according to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:

    The Mavs have gobs of cap space now that Jordan won’t be in Mavs’ threads.

    Up to about six teams have shown interest but nothing more than idle chit-chat has surfaced in regard to Smith’s future whereabouts.

    But for all intents and purposes, the Rockets can offer Smith $2.5 million for 2015-16, a meager raise above the $2.1 million he made in 2014-15 with the club.

    Keep in mind that Smith’s four-year, $54 million guaranteed contract with the Detroit Pistons is still in play as the remainder of it will be in the form of annuity payments of $5.4 million per through the 2019-20 season using the stretch provision.

    That $5.4 million figure will slightly fluctuate as the terms of that said provision will be partially offset depending on how much he’d make with the Rockets or any other potential suitor.

    The Rockets did extend their $2.5 million qualifying offer as a formality so the ball is in Smith’s court to decide if he wants to take a discount to stay with the Rockets or try his hand with the Clippers which is just as much as a competitor now as it once was.

    He’d beef up their already-potent front line.

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    I’m pretty sure his longtime pal in Dwight Howard is convincing him to stay on board.

    So let’s hope he makes the wise decision to return to the Rockets — I’d love to see him back but I’m sure he is entertaining the idea of going to the Clips.

    Smith 29, averaged 12.0 PPG, 6.0 PPG and 2.6 APG in 55 games with the Pistons and Rockets last season.

    He was also a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs, being a key catalyst to catapult the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals — he averaged 13.5 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 2.7 APG.

    The grass is greener here in the Bayou City J-Smoove — come back!

    Next: Patrick Beverley Signs On The Dotted Line!