Smith signed a one-year veteran's minimum deal worth $1.5 million with the Clippers earlier this month. He will earn approximately $6.4 million next season, as the Detroit Pistons owe him $4.9 million from his previous contract.
In his introductory press conference, Smith talked about his contract situation, saying, “It wasn’t about the money because of the Detroit situation, but at the end of the day, I do have a family, so it is going to be a little harder on me this year. But I’m going to push through it and try to do something long-term after this year.”
Some interpreted Smith's comments as being ungrateful for his salary despite the drop from the $13.5 million he earned in 2014–15. In his article for The Player's Tribune, Smith said he was out jogging with his family when his phone “started blowing up” with calls from relatives telling him his comments were in the news.
Smith then explained what he meant about his situation:
The whole thing about it being “harder on me” comes down to family. It seems obvious to me, but maybe I could have said it more clearly. If you know the NBA, you know that moving to a new team is a decision that affects an athlete’s whole family. That’s even more true when you’re signing a one-year deal. With a one-year deal, there’s less stability because you know you might be moving again in a year.
[...] When I was waived from Detroit this year, it meant I had to move to Houston in the middle of the year. Like any parent, you think about how your work affects your kids. You want consistency for your kids — consistent teachers, consistent friends, a consistent home. You want some normalcy for them. I wanted to go to the Clippers (that’s a business decision), but I also wanted to be sensitive to how it affected my kids (that’s a personal one). I can tell you that the conversations this offseason between me and my wife were more about where they’d go to school than about finances.
The 29-year-old Smith signed with the Rockets last December after being waived by the Pistons and averaged a combined 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 83 games.
- Molly Geary