New Orleans Pelicans centers Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca are sidelined due to injuries suffered this week. Suddenly a front court rotation that looked crowded, especially if Anthony Davis chipped in a couple minutes as a small ball center, is practically barren. Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate reported this afternoon that Smith signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Pelicans. Smith was a reserve for the Houston Rockets from 2011-14 before suiting up (briefly) with the Dallas Mavericks last season. His best season was 2012-13 when he played in 70 games as Asik's backup. Averaging nearly 16 minutes a game Smith posted 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 62% from the floor.
I've been a fan of Smith for a while and had hoped the Pelicans a would take a flyer at the end of the 2014 season when the Rockets waived him. There are lingering health issues and legitimate concerns about his proclivity to foul. He's also just 24 years old (turns 25 in January) and has demonstrated NBA ability in significant (1110) minutes.
Both Smith and Jeff Adrien will battle for minutes and a roster spot throughout the preseason. Considering those injuries to Asik and Ajinca keeping both, depending on how team friendly Smith's contract is, is not out of the question.