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Clippers Trade Josh Smith Back to The Houston Rockets

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Los Angeles Clippers have given up on the Josh Smith experiment, trading him back to the Houston Rockets. Smith was an intergrial part of a Houston team that knocked the Clippers out of the playoffs last year, erasing a 1-3 series deficit. Smith was a big part of the game 6 comeback, scoring 19 points while making four 3-pointers.

In the off-season, Smith decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers instead of remaining with the Rockets. The Clippers were hoping for Smith to play a big roll with the team, but inconsistent play, bad shots, and the emergence of Cole Aldrich ended his tenure with the Clippers before it really ever began.

By trading Smith instead of simply releasing him, the Clippers will save $2 million in luxury tax. Here are the full details of the trade, per Wojnarowski:

The Clippers will send cash to cover the remaining $460,000 on Smith’s $1.4 million minimum salary this season and the draft rights to Sergei Lishouk. Houston sends the Clippers the rights to Maarty Leunen. Neither player is expected to play in the NBA.
Rowan Kavner, who covers the Clippers for, has confirmed the reports:

Shams Charania is reporting that the Clippers will fill Smith's vacated spot with Jeff Ayers.

Ayres is a 6'9" PF/C who played with the San Antonio Spurs last season. He played in 51 games, and averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds, while shooting 56% from the field. Probably the biggest thing is that he attempted zero 3-pointers, something that Doc Rivers could not stop Smith from doing with the Clippers.