Josh Smith Is Expected To Sign With The Pelicans On An Injury Hardship Exception (UPDATE)

Getty Image

The New Orleans Pelicans have been as snakebitten as any team in the NBA this season when it comes to injuries, with Rajon Rondo, Solomon Hill, and Alexis Ajinca all out for significant time with various injuries. The Pelicans’ took an even bigger blow on Tuesday night when Anthony Davis was forced out of their game against the Blazers with a knee injury, although he’s listed as day-to-day after the MRI results came back negative.

However, there are still plenty of holes to fill on the New Orleans roster and the league has granted them an injury hardship exception to go out and sign someone, and according to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, that man is Josh Smith.

Smith has most recently played in China after failing to land an NBA contract as a free agent in 2016 or this past summer. The former Hawks forward who, in his prime, was among the league’s better defenders and best dunkers, has long been a frustrating figure for fans and coaches alike due to his immense talents, but insistence on shooting the ball from the perimeter.

That said, Smith can score the ball (and do so fairly efficiently when he’s not hoisting jumpers), which the Pelicans need and, while no longer the rim protector and freak athlete he was in his prime, still has some value on the defensive end if committed. Adding Smith, along with Jameer Nelson, provides the Pelicans with some veteran depth as they continue to plug away with the goal of a playoff berth this season and, they hope, will keep them afloat until the rest of the roster gets healthy.

UPDATE: Smith will reportedly join the Pelicans on Saturday.

There’s no word on when Smith will join the team or when he will make his debut. The Pelicans’ next three games are all at home, and take place on Saturday night against Cleveland, Monday night against Orlando, and Wednesday night against Minnesota.