Josh Smith is having one roller coaster season. After signing a large contract with the Detroit Pistons, a falling out with the team caused him to be released where the Houston Rockets picked him up on a one-year contract. That move has proven to be one of the top mid-season deals of the year as Smith continues to be the x-factor for the Rockets' playoff run. The forward has been nothing short of outstanding during this postseason which is putting Smith in the position of a nice, new contract this offseason.
Smith will be a free agent once again this offseason and according to the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets have no intentions of him heading elsewhere. Smith's worth has been seen all over this playoff run, but it really came into focus when head coach Kevin McHale opted to make him a starter over Terrence Jones which sparked the comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers. It was then that Smith truly shined.
"We just tried to change some things up, tried to get (Jones) with that second unit, maybe get him some more looks, get him going," McHale said, via the Houston Chronicle. "Josh is a very good passer. We gotta use another guy out there to break them down. We got him the ball a little more. We needed something. We weren't getting anything off our bench so we just changed it up. They all played about the same minutes."
There has been a lot of speculation that Rajon Rondo would be a priority for the Rockets in the offseason. However, if the team signs Rondo to the max contract he is expected to command, they might not be able to afford to bring back Smith. With James Harden and Dwight Howard on big deals along with Jones and Trevor Ariza, the cap space is tight. Houston would be forced to decide between the two players.
Next season Patrick Beverley will return healthy. Having him along with Smith entering a starting role, the Rockets might have a top roster once again. Beverley is good enough with the Smith, Harden and Howard trio that giving Rondo a bunch of money might not be worth it. The Rockets have some decisions to make when their playoff run ends either in the Western Conference finals or the NBA Finals. One thing is clear, Smith is playing like a guy ready to stay put.