Hardly surprising, Josh Smith is making the Houston Rockets very happy, and is probably the first order of business for the offseason, planning on re-signing the rejuvenated big man.
Smith played a vital role in the Rockets’ finishing second in the West, coming off the bench as a center or power forward, averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just 25.5 minutes per game. His per minute numbers and shooting percentage from close and long range were all improved after his terrible time with Detroit, looking like a player who actually cares for once.
Daryl Morey, like any head coach or general manager asked questions about the future during a playoff run (which has been very successful so far), did answer the question, but was vague enough to leave things up in the air, mentioning that the now is more important.
We’re pretty focused on now, but obviously pretty much everyone on this team, we’re going to be focused on trying to bring them back. We got quite a few free agents, Josh Smith is one, we’re going to address in the offseason. We feel if our team can keep executing, we feel like we can keep getting better with the group that we have here.
The Rockets won’t be able to offer Smith too much money. Because he was picked up off of the waivers during the season, he can only be offered a non-qualifying offer, which means that the cap space plays a role, and the Rockets will be above it next season. However, Smith will still be owed $27 million from the Pistons for cutting him, so it won’t be that big of a problem, and possibly choosing a place he’s happy with, which includes playing next to a good friend like Dwight Howard, is his most important factor.
Smith signed a rest-of-season contract worth $2,077,000 as the Rockets used the Bi-Annual exception to bring him in. He was averaging 13.1 points per game for the Pistons up to that point, but shooting just 39.1% from the field and an awful 24.3% from beyond the arc. He is shooting almost three times more 3’s in Houston, but making them 33% of the time.