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Report: if Rockets don’t land Howard they may chase Josh Smith

Jul 2, 2013, 10:01 AM EDT

Josh Smith AP

UPDATE 5:01 pm: Talking on Houston Radio today, they said this may not be a plan to have a fallback for Dwight Howard so much as to unite Howard and Smith — offer the Hawks a sign-and-trade with Omer Asik and other pieces or contracts the Rockets want to unload. The Hawks might take that.

I still think that is a terrible idea. Whether Howard likes it or not. Smith is only effective close to the basket but he has a propensity to take jump shots outside that range, all the way out to the three point line. With Howard in the post Smith will have more reason to act like a stretch four and not play to his strengths. Let me be blunt — Smith doesn’t help make this team a contender. Despite his gifts. But that’s a scenario.

10:01 am: This year’s NBA free agent class has Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and then a big drop off in quality.

Who is probably the third best player available? Josh Smith.

That’s who the Rockets met with on Monday and they were very up front with him, reports Marc Spears at Yahoo Sports.

The Houston Rockets told Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Smith during their meeting Monday in Los Angeles that they will make him a contract offer if they don’t sign Los Angeles Lakers free-agent center Dwight Howard, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Smith understood the Rockets’ position and wasn’t offended. Smith hasn’t met with the Atlanta Hawks, who could pursue a sign-and-trade deal to get something in return for him.

The Pistons have been the team most expected to make a run at Smith. That makes little sense either, unless Joe Dumar’s goal is to stunt the growth of the front court of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.

For the Rockets, I don’t like this move. Smith is not a guy the Rockets can pair with James Harden and be contenders — Smith’s penchant for taking jumpers he doesn’t make renders him far less effective. He is also not the consistent defensive and rebounding force a healthy Howard is.

If the Rockets lose out on Howard, they are better off holding on to their money, making short term deals and awaiting the next trade of free agent opportunity for a real franchise anchor guy. Don’t settle. Being patient sucks as a fan, but sometimes it is the best course of action.

  1. sylpkt - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    I don’t understand Josh Smith to Detroit at all. Drummond & Monroe already dominate the paint, they definitely dont’ need a guy who ineffeciently shoots long 2 pointers. That team screams “pack the paint”, alot like Memphis.

    Houston would make some sense I guess, they have a major hole at PF, but in thier offense, they need a stretch 4, not another guy who can’t shoot.

    I think whoever ends up spending the 4/$60m he wants will regret the contract by midseason.

    • jaerba - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      It allows them to move Monroe, whose highly valued because of his age but is also very limited outside of the paint and plays bad defense.

      Smith/Monroe/Drummond is a fun experiment, but I think they’re going for Smith/Drummond.

      • lmoneyfresh - Jul 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        Why in the world would they dump Monroe for Smith? Monroe is 2 years in and is already putting up similar numbers at a more efficient rate than Smith.

      • jaerba - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:15 PM

        Because Monroe’s ceiling is so much lower. He’s slow and relatively unathletic for a big man. He’s got post moves, but he’s got even worse range than Smith and he’s a far worse defender. Moose isn’t even an average defender, he’s actually below average and he’ll never be a great help defender because of his speed.

        Right now Monroe is fool’s gold. He put up great numbers on a bottom feeder, but his game is much more limited. Everyone gave crap about Bosh putting up numbers on a bad team, but Monroe’s situation is even worse.

        That’s why he’s more valuable to the team in a trade than as a player. He’s a character guy and he’s young, so his value is as high right now as it’ll ever be. But he’s never going to become an all-around player. Smith has truly dumb shot selection, but he is an all-around player.

    • knodtl1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      I think Houston’s rotation at pf is something to watch out for, Montiejunas has signs of being a good pf and Terrance Jones is young and consistent, look for both of them to improve. If there is a “hole” it is at pg, its not that Jeremy Lin is bad, it is just his pairing with Harden just doesn’t seem to work well. I would have to agree with you in that the pf/c as a core is weak compared to the top teams, which is why Howard/ Bynum (hopefully) are good fits. Guys like that would help the younger pf’s immensely.

  2. thekingdave - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Wait for Kevin Love

  3. 13arod - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    sylpkt smith shoots a lot of three’s

    • sylpkt - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Yeah, he takes alot of threes, he’s also made 28% of them for his career. That’s what makes him such a polorizing player, he can do just about everything but shoot, but he chooses to shoot them anyway. Playoff defenses will just lag off of him, congesting everyone else on offense, especially in Houston where Asik isn’t a threat and in Detroit where both Monroe & Drummond are in the post (they just need D&3 wing types & a penatrating PG)

  4. htownred34 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Honestly no matter what we will end up being better than last year. If its not josh smith there still is Paul Milsap and big al…

  5. ccshocktalk - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    I don’t see why the Lakers don’t just jump on Josh Smith and forget about Howard as well. There starting five would be offensively focused which is all that D’Antoni cares about, so Smith’s inability to play defense wouldn’t really pose a threat. Early Clark is quality at the 4, Pau is a stretch 5, Smith is athletic enough and can score at least 20-25 a night, Kobe’s still good for 25+ and Nash can facilitate an athletic offense just like he did in Phoenix…and most likely have the same chances of winning a ring, none.

    Either way Smith is the better option because Dwight simply wont play in LA with Kobe; he can’t handle the pressure of being held accountable like a big boy.

    Earl Clark

    • knodtl1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      That frontline would be garbage, the rebounding and defense would be atrocious, with a declining Pau and Earl Clark? He MAYBE could start for a league bottom feeder. If the Lakers cant get Howard they should try to sign the Utah Frontcourt with Pau and Clark off the bench, now THAT rotation would be excellent, maybe weak on defense but like you said, D’Antoni likes offense.

      • ccshocktalk - Jul 2, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Getting Utah’s front court would be a great pickup as you said. However, show me an NBA team that ever tries to get offensive boards? It is extremely rare that you’ll ever see anyone following their own shots or going for boards…I think for the most part most boards are on the defensive side (mainly because nobody is crashing the boards).

        So long as they focused on transition defense and didn’t chase down every rebound their lack of size shouldn’t be that big of a problem.

        However, they should also think about trying to after someone like LaMarcus Aldridge who wants out of Portland, or maybe try and go after Al Horford.

        Maybe trade Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill for MKG and Kemba Walker from Charlotte, then trade Pau straight up for Aldridge or Horford then you could pair Horford/Aldridge at the 5, Clark at the 4, MKG at 3, Kobe at 2 and Kemba at the 1.
        It’s more of an NBA live trade but it could work according to ESPN trade machine ha.

  6. timb12 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    As a Rockets fan, I think I speak for all of us when I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  7. bobulated - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Has there ever been a high $ UFA less wanted by fan bases around the league then Josh Smith?

    • jaerba - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Yeah but most fans don’t watch Atlanta games and they certainly don’t value defense. I think most of them see Josh Smith as a JR Smith type, when he’s actually a two way player and possibly the most underrated defender in the league.

  8. kb2408 - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    @thekingdave, “wait for Kevin Love”? The whole NBA world knows that if Love ever becomes an unrestricted free agent here will be wearing the PURPLE AND GOLD. Bet the house on it.

    • knodtl1 - Jul 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Ehh I don’t think Love is that biased, especially for when his contract is up, the Lakers current core will be LONG gone. I think they are doing the right things in Minnesota and he will prolly be the KG of the team, then nearing the end of his career he would leave for a team that with him would be contenders with him.

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