DALLAS The sacred grounds that hold the NBA together shook vigorously Monday with the surprise announcement that the Detroit Pistons had released forward Josh Smith.
And the Dallas Mavericks might have an inside track on acquiring the 10-year veteran.
Detroit waived Smith even though they still owe him $27 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, in addition to his salary for this season. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have a roster spot available in the wake of last Thursday’s trade when the received point guard Rajon Rondo from the Boston Celtics.
Rondo and Smith (6-9, 225) played high school basketball together at Oak Hill Academy and were always hopeful of playing on the same NBA team.
“He’s a player whose ability I respect a lot,’’ Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Smith. “He’s had enough big games against us to where he’s the kind of guy that can put a team on his back and beat you.
“He’s done it to us a lot of times. I don’t know the details of what happened there, but he’ll be picked up soon, I know that.’’
Smith, 29, averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists in 28 games this season for the Pistons. Meanwhile, the Mavs made a run at him when he became a free agent in the summer of 2013 before he signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the Pistons.
Rondo and Smith have remained close friends since their high school days, and a reunion with the Mavericks just might realize a long dream for the duo.