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NBA free agency 2022: Ish Smith could set an NBA record for most games with a different team

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Ish Smith could break an NBA record next season. The veteran guard reportedly was traded alongside Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from the Washington Wizards to the Denver Nuggets for Will Barton and Monte Morris. If Smith suits up for Denver — or one of 17 other clubs — in 2022, he'll have played for the 13 different NBA teams in his career. That would be the most in league history.

Prior to Wednesday's trade, Smith held the honor with four others: Smith, Chucky Brown, Jim Jackson, Tony Massenburg and Joe Smith all played for 12 different teams during their career. But Smith is still an active player and was always a threat to find his way onto a 13th club. If he does it, he'll sit atop the leaderboard.

Smith's NBA career is a strange one. He's been in the league for 12 years but played more than two seasons with only one team once in his career: from 2016-2019 with the Detroit Pistons. Smith was traded six times during his career before this most recent move. He has also been waived six times.

Originally an undrafted rookie out of Wake Forest, Smith signed with the Houston Rockets in 2010 where he played 28 games before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Smith played for three teams the following year in 2011 — the Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors and the Orlando Magic. After two years in Orlando, Smith was traded in 2013 to the Milwaukee Bucks, who flipped him six months later to the Phoenix Suns.

Smith endured a tumultuous three-year stretch after that where he played for five different teams from 2013-2015 before settling in with the Pistons in 2016. He played three years in Detroit and two years with the Washington Wizards (his second stint there) before signing with the Hornets in 2021. The Hornets traded him back to the Wizards on Feb. 10, 2022, just a few months before he was sent to Denver.

To his credit, Smith doesn't just ride the bench. He has averaged 20 minutes per game in 719 appearances since 2010, including 22 minutes per game this past season for the Wizards where he averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 assists. If he sticks around in Denver, Smith should be the backup point guard for Jamal Murray, who missed this past season with an ACL tear.

Ish Smith is on his 13th NBA team after being traded to the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Ish Smith is on his 13th NBA team after being traded to the Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)