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Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by CaucasionSensation, Jan 7, 2000.

  1. CaucasionSensation

    Oct 1, 1999
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    Well freinds the article is right there, and guess what it says:

    "DALLAS -- Troubled teenager Leon Smith took a step Friday toward straightening out his life and restarting his once-promising NBA career.

    Smith, under suspension by the Dallas Mavericks and likely to soon become a free agent, checked out of a local psychiatric ward and moved to Houston to begin workouts with former NBA star Moses Malone.

    The 19-year-old Smith, who was raised as a ward of Illinois after being estranged from his parents at age 5, will live in a furnished apartment arranged for by the NBA Players Association and will continue receiving counseling.

    Mavericks president Terdema Ussery said Friday the team and the players union are close to finalizing a deal that would terminate Smith's three-year, $1.45 million contract. The union filed a grievance over Smith's suspension on Wednesday.

    "We're not going to discuss any specifics," Ussery said. "We're just going to try to get the deal done and get it documented."

    Smith has undergone a series of traumatic episodes -- mostly of his own doing -- since trying to make the leap from a Chicago high school to the NBA.

    San Antonio made the 6-foot-10, 235-pound forward the final pick in the first-round of the draft, then traded him to Dallas. He was signed Nov. 2 after an acrimonious summer.

    Smith never played in a game or even practiced with his teammates. In mid-November, he was placed in a psychiatric ward after throwing a rock through a car window and swallowing about 250 aspirin tablets.

    He returned to Chicago in early December and got into trouble with police on consecutive days.

    Smith was jailed for allegedly threatening a former girlfriend with a gun, then hours later he was accused of ramming a car belonging to the ex-girlfriend's mother and smashing out all the windows. He was charged with two counts of criminal damage.

    Smith is facing a Feb. 3 court date in Chicago for charges stemming from both episodes."


    So at some point after this kid worksout continuously and for a while at the Westside Tennis Club (and we all know he eventually) do the Rockets take him on as a project.

    This guy certainly has his share of problems but may also have a terrific upside as well.

    Carlos Rogers could be a mentor to him (remember the Chronicle article).

    The amazing thing is how good a position this puts the Rockets in to pursue him. Eventually, of course, certainly not right away.

    So what do you think? Should the Rockets consider this guy as project to work with. A Jermaine O'Neal of sorts.
  2. Mango

    Mango Contributing Member

    Sep 23, 1999
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    I don't kow what ex-NBA players reside in the Dallas area, but Lucas, Moses and Murphy all have sons in the same age group as Leon and would be respectable role models for Leon. I would guess that is why Houston was selected of all places.

    The Rockets and Leon? Not this season. Getting on an even keel is the only priority currently. Next Season? If he has his head screwed on straight.

  3. rocketsfan34

    rocketsfan34 Contributing Member

    Feb 14, 1999
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    wow didn't know this. Thanks for the news. Now we can get him for free and send him to Europe. [​IMG]
  4. PhiSlammaJamma

    Aug 29, 1999
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    Good for the kid, but whatever his problem it's probably somewhat deep for him to try and kill himself. His priority won't be basketball for quite some time, but I do believe he can get it together. I dated a girl with depression once, and she still struggles with it, but she has been able to get her life under control. And it appears as though she is happy now. I hope Smith will be able to play in the NBA someday, but he's got a long road ahead of him. I doubt he will return anytime soon, but he is headed in the right direction. Hope it all works out.
  5. CaucasionSensation

    Oct 1, 1999
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    As far as his problems goes, they are very deep from what I have heard. He was placed in foster homes when he was little along with his little brother, but the horrible thing is that he and is brother were seperated. He has no real family except him and probably until now no true live in role models.

    I'll tell you one thing and that is that it's nothing God can't fix.

    Give him a year or two, and the reflection he will recieve from all these experiences could help him to realize the person he must become.

    And then the Rockets might have another piece to the puzzle. Just hope and pray for the best.
  6. popeye

    popeye Member

    Mar 10, 1999
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    Your my brother Pale Rider. Cool Runnings to you for saying it like it should be said. [​IMG]
  7. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

    Oct 27, 1999
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    Good for the players association. I'm glad to see they help like this. I think the Mavs should do that for the kid as well under standard employee assistance programs. Getting into police trouble doesn't help though.

    I like to see him embrace his workouts as a good release and a daily structured regimen...to go with his needed counseling and mentoring. It is hard for me to think of the Rocket's needs here. I just believe the kids that have these problems and overcome them are often the best entertainers for sports fans, because they learned how fragile life can be.

    No matter where he goes, if he comes back, I'll certainly be following him. Thx for the news.

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