On Monday, the Detroit Pistons surprised the basketball world when the team decided to release Josh Smith, who still has two more seasons and $40.5 million remaining on his contract.
While the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings are considered to be the frontrunners for Smith once he is expected to clear waivers late Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers are also interested in signing the forward according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:
“Add the Lakers to the list of teams interested in free-agent forward Josh Smith.”
While the Rockets and Kings are playoff contenders, the Lakers have the Steve Nash disabled player exception available and are searching for players to improve their roster:
“The Lakers (8-19) are searching for players who could help improve a talent-thin roster.”
With Smith likely clearing waivers unless the Philadelphia 76ers place a claim, it is expected that he will join a playoff contending team. However, if he decides to join the Lakers, Los Angeles will have to either apply for a hardship exception or waive a player.
Since signing with the Pistons in 2013, Smith was never a real fit as Detroit attempted to play him at small forward alongside Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. The 29-year-old has been involved in numerous trade rumors throughout his career and will have an opportunity to sign with a team that maximizes his skill set.
In 28 games for the Pistons, Smith averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 32.0 minutes.[divide]
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