Sources: Josh Smith plans to sign with New Orleans Pelicans

Josh Smith played 23 games with Houston last season. (AP)
Josh Smith played 23 games with Houston last season. (AP)

Free-agent forward Josh Smith plans to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans under an injury hardship exception, league sources told The Vertical.

Smith’s agent, Wallace Prather, finalized the agreement on Wednesday. Smith is traveling to Sacramento and is expected to be available for the Pelicans’ road game against the Kings on Thursday night, league sources said.

Smith, a 12-year NBA veteran, is expected to provide the Pelicans with additional frontcourt depth and playmaking. All-Star forward Anthony Davis suffered a left knee injury in Tuesday’s road loss in Portland and is questionable to play Thursday, league sources said.

Smith has averaged 14.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in his NBA career with Atlanta, Detroit, the Clippers and Houston. He worked out for the Pelicans in the summer and has close relationships with Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins and guard Rajon Rondo.

New Orleans received an extra roster spot via a hardship exception due to the absences of Rondo, Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, Solomon Hill and Frank Jackson, who are all out for at least the next two weeks.

Smith, 31, last played in the NBA in 2015-16 with Houston. He has since played overseas, including in China, and in three preseason games against NBA teams in training camp with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Basketball Premier League.

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