The Clippers had considered waiving Smith, league sources said. The trade allows them to save $2 million in luxury tax.
Several Rockets players were eager for the the team to bring back Smith, league sources told Yahoo.
After losing Smith to the Clippers in free agency in July, his inability to find a role with Los Angeles made him expendable almost immediately.
Smith had regret over leaving the Rockets, where he had found a significant role in the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals last season. Smith signed a one-year deal with the Clippers for the league minimum, but never meshed with coach Doc Rivers.
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.
Smith averaged 12 points, six rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks in 55 games for the Rockets a season ago.
This year, including three DNP's in his final five games with the Clippers, Smith averaged 5.7 points in 14.3 minutes a game.
The Rockets are 22-22 and holding onto the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference.
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