MIAMI (Sporting Alert) — Free agent Josh Smith is set to join the Houston Rockets, according to reports from ESPN.com sources on Wednesday morning.
Smith, who was waived by the Detroit Pistons on Monday, with two years and closed to $26 million remaining on his contract, has been on the lookout for a team that can win an NBA title and it is understood that the Rockets have the best deal to offer and have ”assured the player that he would start.”
The experienced forward had been linked with the Miami Heat as well, but according to ESPN’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard, the 29-year-old has decided to move to Texas instead.
Dallas Mavericks, who recently landed All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics, were also in the running for Smith as they search for another big-man who is capable of creating his own shots and grab defensive rebounds.
Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings were believed to be in the running as well for the small forward, who scored 13 points and six rebounds in his last outing, which was a 110-105 defeat at the Brooklyn Nets last Sunday.
The ten-year veteran Smith, who has a career average of 15.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, was averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.75 blocks per game with the Pistons this season.
He was shooting 39.1 percent from the field 153-of-391 attempts, while grabbing 202 total rebounds, including 150 at the defensive end from the 28 games he played for the Pistons.
Smith is averaging 32-minutes per game this campaign.
He will join an already star-studded Houston (20-7) side that also includes good friend and star center Dwight Howard, as well as the league’s leading scorer James Harden, who is averaging 27.0 points per game and is shooting 42.1 percent from the field.
The Rockets will take on the Memphis Grizzlies on the road on Friday night before traveling to face defending champions San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.