Josh Smith: Making $6.9M this season ‘is going to be a little harder on me’
Josh Smith ignited a media firestorm earlier this week when he indicated that the pay cut he took to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers is going to make life “harder” on him.
Smith signed a veteran’s minimum deal with the Clippers that will pay him $1.5 million for the 2015-16 season. But beginning this year, he also is slated to receive $5.4 million from the Detroit Pistons after the team waived him at midseason, an annual payment the Pistons are on the hook to Smith until 2019. That means he will receive checks roughly in the amount of $6.9 million for his play in a Clippers uniform this upcoming season.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Smith lamented the financial backslide he has endured.
“But at the end of the day, you know, I do have a family,” Smith said, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk and first reported by the Orlando Journal-Sentinel’s David Whitley. “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 long-term after this year.”
Smith’s comments come at approximately the 14-minute mark.
As noted by Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer and elsewhere, Smith has earned nearly $94 million during his NBA career. But it warrants pointing out that the $6.9 million salary falls well short of the $14 million he would have received annually from the Pistons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Smith essentially took a 50 percent pay cut, a precipitous drop in income no matter what tax bracket one finds oneself in, although he did have other options before opting to sign with the Clippers.
Of course, Smith comes across as out of touch to the average fan — even Latrell Sprewell-like, who once argued he had “a family to feed” when turning down a three-year, $30 million offer from the Timberwolves — but the key word in Smith’s comments was “harder,” not “impossible,” or “dire.” Granted, he could have said it much better than he did, but all Smith was saying is that it isn’t pleasant to take such a deep pay cut. Although it’s unlikely that will garner any sympathy for him.