ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that Smith joins the Clippers from the Houston Rockets on a one-year deal.
The Clippers will be paying Smith the veteran’s minimum, per Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.
An eleven-year veteran in the league, Smith is averaging a career 15.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. The deal is not yet done, but Smith appears headed to Lob City to help get the Clippers over the proverbial hump. Smith moved into the starting line-up during the Western Conference semi-final series against the Clippers.
The signing was announced Thursday. That’s a huge benefit for Smith, who can now choose which team he plays for, but also for a Clippers team that it heading deep into luxury tax territory. Instead of becoming part of an imposing frontcourt with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, the trio struggled to play together.
By December 2014, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy had had enough of the toxic mix and released Smith outright.
Never even an average jump-shooter, Smith is a bit of an awkward fit. Similarly, playing behind Blake Griffin and sharing a few minutes at the four with Paul Pierce could have the same effect.
Still, Smith remains a legitimately strong finisher near the basket. Thornton averaged eight points and shot over 37 percent from long range.
What remains up in the air following the signing is which Josh Smith the Clippers will be getting – the three-point happy Smith we saw in Detroit or the all-around role-player the Clippers witnessed up-close and personal in the playoffs. (What the Clippers will pay him will be offset from the money Detroit owes him.).