Josh Smith Reportedly to Sign Contract with Pelicans Under Injury Exception

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 25, 2017

Houston Rockets' Josh Smith during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly adding Josh Smith even though he hasn't played in a regular-season NBA game since 2015-16. 

On Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported "Smith plans to sign with New Orleans under an injury hardship exception."

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, New Orleans is able to use the exception because Smith's contract is non-guaranteed compared to the guaranteed deal Jameer Nelson signed with the team.

Michael Kaskey-Blomain of 247Sports noted Smith spent time with the Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association last season. Kelly Iko of ESPN Houston reported in August Smith was "very interested" in returning to the Houston Rockets, but they never reached a deal.

He last played for the Rockets after they acquired him via trade from the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2015-16 season. Smith averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds a night in 55 combined games for the two teams in his last season, which was a far cry from some of the numbers he put up in his prime.

He averaged double-digit scoring in 10 straight seasons from 2005-06 through 2014-15 and topped 16.0 points a night six times during that span. Smith also scored as many as 18.8 points per game in 2011-12 for the Atlanta Hawks and was an All-Defensive Second Team member in 2009-10 with Atlanta.

However, he is 31 years old, was out of the league last season and could cause more spacing problems for a Pelicans team that already features a strong frontcourt in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins but isn't as formidable around the perimeter.

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Smith sports a subpar 28.5 percent shooting clip from three-point range for his career, but his overall range may help to stretch the floor.

Still, the Pelicans could use additional depth on the wing alongside the unproven Dante Cunningham and Darius Miller, and Smith is someone who has demonstrated he can be a force at both ends when playing well.


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