— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 22, 2016
Earlier today, we shared the reports that the first transaction of the regular season for the Los Angeles Clippers was in the works. Now that it’s official, ClipperBlog had some thoughts on the trade of PF Josh Smith back to Houston.
I’ll start out by sharing these ominous moments of disconnect:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) January 22, 2016
Yeah. Good luck to J-Smoove. This is the second year in a row that the Rockets acquired him after he fell out of favor with a coach. Talent matters in this game, but relationships are everything. Smith had to have known it was coming for months. To his relative credit, the guys in the locker room that I’ve had a chance to interact with gave Smith credit for not completely melting down. As one player put it, he’s been down this road before as a 12-year NBA vet.
It is disappointing for the Clippers and Doc Rivers that he has struck out on a veteran big man for the 3rd season in a row (Antawn Jamison/Byron Mullens in 2013-2014, Spencer Hawes in 2014-2015, Smith in 2015-2016).
I’ll turn it over to the rest of the staff now:
Dan Woike’s article was really insightful into the matter, but hearing of Smith seeking a leadership role when there was already an existing hierarchy is a head scratcher. Clearly there was a disconnect between coach and player on role, but was there also misunderstanding from the get-go on what that role was supposed to be, or was what the role was to be falsely advertised?
Dave Wohl was mentioned a lot in the off season as the guy who pushed hardest to sign Smith. Was he selling something to Smith that Doc didn’t have in mind?
I swear this team is the full-on equivalent of LOST season 3.
The irony in some NBA trades is sometimes lost in the process itself.
As a free agent last summer, Josh Smith had the opportunity to re-sign with his own team by accepting the Houston Rockets non-Bird exception. The benefits of this appeared to work in both parties favor. Smith’s value in the free-agent market had waned after a less-than impressive tenure in Detroit but he experienced relative success in Houston.
Instead, Smith took a minimum free agent deal to sign with the Clippers. While on the surface it appeared to be a match, chemistry issues quickly rose to the surface, not only stunting Smith’s minutes and production, but clearly affecting the team’s cohesiveness.
It could be argued that Smith had a decent situation last season. He held a sizeable role in logging over 25 minutes per-game for a Rockets team that knocked off the Clippers in the playoffs — thanks in part to Smith’s 14 fourth quarter points in the clinching Game 6. All this begs the question of why exactly Smith would then take less money to jump to a Clipper team unless he was promised a greater role than he already held in Houston?
Whatever the circumstances were impacts little in the remainder of this season. The Clippers have essentially hit reset with the move and with Smith vocally expressing his own regret, both sides can move forward.
You saw someone wearing a dope t-shirt last May. Damn, what a tee. And then one day, by chance, you found that very t-shirt online and on sale. What a bargain! But then it arrives in the mail and it’s just not quite right. It doesn’t quite fit. You try and make it work (leave the tags on) but nope, it’s not for you.
Luckily, it was on sale and there wasn’t a “no returns” policy attached. Fortunately, you can return it free of charge — save for a little postage and handling.
You probably tried to sell it on Craigslist first “as new” for regular retail price, you savvy salesman. When that failed, you downgraded it to “hardly worn” and in “perfect condition” before explaining, it was all just an “ill-advised” purchase. But then how many people want a trigger-happy power forward that can’t exactly shoot?
Alas, caveat emptor. It’s over now. It was a hassle but worth a try. In hindsight, the price tag was probably a good indicator that it was too good to be true. You’ve sent it back now and it’s over — unless you see somebody else rocking it again this May.