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Last season, Josh Smith was the glue guy who helped the Houston Rockets make it to the Western Conference Finals. Now he’s coming back, almost for absolutely nothing.

After signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency over the summer, Smith is headed back to Houston for cash consideration and draft rights, a source told Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Smith wasn’t on the court Thursday night when the Clippers lost on the road to the Cleveland Cavaliers. On the surface, a feud between Smith & Clippers head coach / team president Doc Rivers led to his abrupt departure. The last clip fans may remember of Josh Smith in a Clippers uniform is he and fellow much maligned enigma Lance Stephenson engaged in a slap boxing contest on the bench during a Clippers’ timeout.

When Smith landed in Houston last season following a trade from Detroit, he flourished. Outside of his usual flair for shooting threes, Smith was an integral part in the Rockets ascent towards the 2-seed in the West and winning 57 games. He was a key factor in knocking the Clippers out of the playoffs last season, especially in the Rockets magnificent Game 6 comeback down by as much as 19 late in the third quarter. This year with the Clippers he’s been a non-factor, playing a career-low 14.3 minutes a night. Even with Blake Griffin out for a long stretch of games recently, Smith could barely crack the rotation.

What does the trade mean for the Rockets? It means that the coaching staff and GM Daryl Morey believe that Smith of all people was the calming center of chaos. Without Smith this season the Rockets have not only struggled, they’ve been the league’s most disappointing team. Currently sitting at 22-22 and clinging to the 7th seed in the West, the Rockets have already fired Kevin McHale, seem to have run interim head coach JB Bickerstaff to the point where he’s using KJ McDaniels to just foul Andre Drummond and look more like the one and done Rockets of previous seasons.

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