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New Laker Joe Smith weighs in

December 16, 2010 |  5:17 pm

Just call it The 12 Teams (Before) Christmas

But, seriously, who is keeping track of how many teams Joe Smith has played for in the NBA?

"I lost count," said the 35-year-old Smith, laughing.

Smith, who was acquired by the Lakers in a multi-team trade earlier this week, spoke with a few reporters at a downtown health club in Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. He was only allowed to observe practice, an optional session, having just had his physical earlier in the day.

The closest he has come to a championship was with the Cavaliers when they lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to Boston in 2008. It was only natural he thought that the shot to win might have passed him by … until the trade.

"I did. But I was still hopeful that something could happen that I could end up in a place like this," said Smith, who played only four games for the New Jersey Nets this season. "I was excited when I got the phone call. Kind of sad and excited.

"It's kind of a two-way street. You are leaving a young group of guys you've grown close to. But at the same time you have to look at a bigger picture, especially at this point in my career."

All the years of moving doesn’t mean getting traded is routine.

"It never gets any easier,” Smith said. "I mean, somehow I accumulate more stuff when I get to a city than I ever expected. Yesterday was a long day with me packing and trying to get as much stuff in suitcases as I could."

One bonus is that his family is close by, in Arizona, and his 12-year-old son was thrilled by the development.

"He texted me, 'Are you really a Laker?'"  Smith said. "He was pumped up about it. Very excited. He plays. He loves to play. Every time I'm in the gym, he’s in the gym."

Smith was equally excited. He got a text message from his agent less than an hour before the Nets played Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

"I heard Los Angeles Lakers and I smiled the whole game,” he said, laughing, again.

-Lisa Dillman
Reporting From Philadelphia