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Josh Smith makes NBA return with New Orleans Pelicans Staff

Josh Smith is back in the NBA

The former NBA slam dunk champion and versatile defender debuted with the Pelicans on Saturday night after spending the previous season playing for Sichuan Blue Whales of the Chinese Basketball Association. That stint came after a low-impact half-season with the Houston Rockets, where he played token minutes in their first-round defeat to the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

Smith signed with New Orleans after the team received an injury hardship exemption from the NBA. The 6-9 forward lends additional depth to the short-handed Pelicans, who are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015.