2011 NBA Free Agents: What Hornets' Jason Smith Has To Offer in Free Agency

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer INovember 27, 2011

Jason Smith.
Jason Smith.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Another big man available on the free agent market is forward/center Jason Smith. Smith spent the 2010-11 NBA season as a member of the New Orleans Hornets after coming to the team in a trade that also brought Willie Green and sent rookie Craig Brackins and veteran forward Darius Songaila to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Jason Smith was one of the best players to come out of the Mountain West Conference in 2007 and was a legit big man eligible for the NBA Draft.

Smith, a big man that can play at the power forward and center spots, played collegiate basketball at Colorado State University for three years before being selected by the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft.

However, the Miami Heat traded his draft rights to the Philadelphia 76ers, who were in search of some size and felt that Smith could develop into a possible future big man.

During his rookie year in Philadelphia, Smith averaged 4.5 points and 14.6 minutes per game and got the opportunity to be part of the regular rotation in the playoffs that year. He only averaged 3.3 points per game during the playoffs but played an average of 13.7 minutes per game.

Smith then missed the entire 2008-09 NBA season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in training camp, which hurt the team as they were looking to make Smith more of a presence in the rotation.

The following season, Smith was given clearance to play basketball but used the 2009-10 NBA season as a chance to get himself back together in terms of movement and stability on the court.

During the offseason, Smith was traded to the Hornets, and would get a chance to play minutes for a team looking to add depth to their frontcourt. With the Hornets, Smith appeared in 77 games while averaging 4.3 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. He played in six playoff games last season even though he did not do a lot of scoring. Smith gave the Hornets another option to use behind starting center Emeka Okafor.

So Jason Smith remains a big man that has the potential to become a part of a team’s regular rotation due to his abilities and being able to play at multiple positions. The Hornets only have six players under contract for the upcoming season and could look to re-sign big men due to the short offseason. Furthermore, he could very well end up being a “steal” come free agency.