By releasing Josh Smith, the Detroit Pistons finally admitted what had been clear to most for well over a year now. It just wasn’t a good fit. Never was. Never was going to be. Cut your losses and move on. That is what both the Pistons and Smith will hope to do in the coming days, weeks and months. While the Pistons are not going get any better with the move, Smith now finds himself in an enviable position, as he will soon be free to sign with a contender once he clears waivers. Smith will likely clear waivers on Wednesday, as the Pistons will be forced to pay Smith $26 million through next season. With that news, I can see Smith generating plenty of interest, including from some of the teams in the upper echelon of the NBA, Those teams may include the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Wojnarowski points out that the Rockets are the likely front-runners, as Smith and Houston center Dwight Howard have been friends since growing up together in Atlanta. The Rockets have also attempted to acquire Smith in the past, but may have a better chance now.
The Mavs, Heat, Clippers and Kings will also try to talk to Smith, although all four of those teams will only be able to offer him the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million, while the Rockets can come in at $2.077 million annually with their biannual exception.