Rockets’ pursuit of Dwight Howard could complicate Pistons’ of Josh Smith

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Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

The Houston Rockets told Atlanta Hawks free-agent forward Josh Smith during their meeting Monday in Los Angeles that they will make him a contract offer if they don’t sign Los Angeles Lakers free-agent center Dwight Howard, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Smith understood the Rockets’ position and wasn’t offended.

The Pistons met with Josh Smith once free agency began, but they didn’t offer him a contract. Reportedly, though, Detroit’s plan was to lure Smith before he becomes the top target of every team that misses on Dwight Howard.

If Smith wants to wait for the Rockets – and that isn’t necessarily the case – the Pistons have two options. They could offer Smith more money to entice him to stop waiting, or they could ride it out and risk other backup options signing elsewhere while Smith mulls his decision. Obviously, neither option is ideal.

Joe Dumars has, for better or worse, typically gotten his key free agent by striking quickly. The Pistons agreed to terms with Chauncey Billups, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva on the first day free agents could negotiate. This is a new course for Dumars, and the Pistons’ summer somewhat hinges on how he navigates it.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Ben Gordon Charlie Villanueva Chauncey Billups Dwight Howard Houston Rockets Josh Smith THN-ATL THN-HOU

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