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NBA / Jun 24, 2014 / 6:00 pm

Report: Kings, Pistons Discussing Josh Smith Trade

Josh Smith

Josh Smith (Pat Lovell, USATODAY Sports)

We’ll say this for the Sacramento Kings: They certainly are bold. It’s the ultimate justification of that seemingly relentless approach that’s come under fire since Vivek Ranadive bought the team, and that analysis certainly won’t change today. ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Kings and Detroit Pistons are currently working on a trade that would send much-maligned forward Josh Smith to Sacramento to team with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.

This amounts to something like a straight salary dump for the Pistons. Detroit’s plan to use Smith alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond proved unsurprisingly futile last season, as the trio notched a -8.0 net rating in 1,361 minutes and Smith nearly set a record for three-point shooting inaccuracy.

It was widely assumed that the only way for new Detroit head honcho Stan Van Gundy to split his post surplus would be to part with Monroe, a restricted free agent, this summer. Smith, remember, signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the Pistons before last season. Many deemed his contract unmovable after such a poor performance in 2013-2014, a scenario that would force the Pistons to use Monroe as trade bait or let him walk in free agency.

But the Kings are everyone favorite’s trade partner these days. Masai Ujiri and the Toronto Raptors got out of their obligation to Gay by shipping him to Sacramento last winter, and Van Gundy is looking to do the same with Smith. Getting Thompson and Williams for Smith is a win-win for the Pistons: The former is a valuable big man signed at a reasonable price through 2016, and the latter will be a restricted free agent after the coming season.

The Kings are intent on putting a star-studded team on the floor next season, and Smith, warts and all, is a player that fans know well. That’s obviously not the best way to build a winner, though, especially when the potential team in question lacks even the individual talent to compete in a loaded Western Conference.

Smith, Gay, and Cousins all face questions of shot-selection and selfishness. Though the latter two players made major strides last season, putting another ball-stopping, mid-range shooting cog into the equation seems a losing proposition for all involved. And that’s even before considering the salary ramifications of committing three years to Smith, especially with the knowledge that Gay will be a free agent next summer after he recently decided to opt into the final year of his contract.

Smith is one of the most versatile two-way players in basketball when he’s playing within his limitations. The problem is that he goes outside them far, far too often, an issue that’s plagued Gay, Cousins, and even other Kings in the past, too. This isn’t a winning Big Three, but maybe Sacramento has another move in mind upon acquiring Smith.

We’ll tackle that rumor should it become something more. For now, though, simply ponder this:

*Statistical support for this post provided by nba.com/stats and basketball-reference.com

(GIF via thescore)

Would Josh Smith be a good fit in Sacramento?

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  • SweetdickWilly

    I’d say Brandon Jennings needs to go worse than Josh Smith. He has no business being a starting point in the NBA for any team at this point. Josh does have bad shot selection tendencies but he was one of the few defenders the Pistons had that opponents had to game plan for.

  • 2cents

    Agreed with SDW that Jennings has to go, but if they can get rid of both of them, then I think the Pistons have a chance to be decent. It was so obvious when Dumars signed them last summer it was going to be a massive fail, so hope the Pistons can clean shop and get back to winning basketball.

  • Surrender Monkey

    Nobody in journalism these days seems to know what a “win-win” is.

  • kd

    Jennings stays. He’s more than good enough to start for the pistons. Josh Smith belongs in the D League. He is terrible at any position.

  • Chris Steward

    I don’t think the Pistons used him properly. Smith is no 3. Ever!! He is a post player who would thrive with a big who can spread the floor. Drummond needs to be on the floor but he also clogs the lane. That forced Smith to take too many mid range shots (which he seemingly had no problem taking, which he should have). Detroit’s floor spacing was horrific. Don’t blame Smith for that, that was the way the team was made. It didn’t help they had no reliable outside shooter.