Smith, 29, goes from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best. The Rockets currently sit fourth in the stacked Western Conference with a 20-7 record.
Arguably the Pistons’ best player (not an ideal situation) he goes to a team with an established pecking order with superstars James Harden and Howard, an old AAU teammate in their hometown of Atlanta.
During his short period of time Smith came to symbolize everything wrong with the Pistons. The Pistons hit the reset button during this four-day Christmas break and are going to emphasize others.
So the decision was made to use the NBA’s stretch provision to waive Smith. The Pistons will pay him the remainder of his $13.5 million owed this season, but can stretch the remaining $27 million over the next five seasons, a cap hit of $5.4 million until the 2019-20 season – although that will likely be offset some when Smith signs his next contract this summer. The better Smith performs, the bigger the contract he signs, the less of a cap hit the Pistons take.