Free agent forward Josh Smith has agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Shams Charania of Real GM. He will sign a minimum contract because the Clippers do not have any exceptions left. The Rockets, Smith's incumbent team, reportedly offered more money, but Smith chose to go to the Clippers instead.
Smith is expected to slot in as Los Angeles' third big man. He can play either position, pushing Blake Griffin to center in small lineups.
Smith gets a new contract on the free agent market just two years after his $54 million deal with the Detroit Pistons, which came to an end when the team released him in December. His time with the Pistons was a bust, but the terms of the buyout will pay him $5.4 million annually through 2019. Now he's getting paychecks from two teams.
Few players have been through as much change over the past few seasons as Smith. A star with the Atlanta Hawks for years, he tried to take on an even bigger role in Detroit and failed to live up to expectations. Instead of becoming part of an imposing frontcourt with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, the trio struggled to play together.
Stan Van Gundy didn't wait long before cutting Smith loose, opting to open up cap space over the next couple of seasons while removing a piece that didn't fit. Smith signed with the Rockets afterward and proved to be a major player off the bench during the team's playoff run, stepping up in several games with monster performances. After all the turmoil in recent years, those games were a reminder of why Smith can be such a useful piece.