There’s a new sheriff in Detroit and the first order of business might be sorting through the previous regime’s mistakes. Stan Van Gundy rules over basketball operations of the Pistons, and there were reports yesterday about a potential Josh Smith trade with the Sacramento Kings.
Smith, along with Brandon Jennings, were the prized acquisitions of Joe Dumars last summer. Just a year later, Smith’s contract—which still has three years and approximately $40 million remaining—is an albatross. Van Gundy likely doesn’t see a future in pairing Smith, Andre Drummond and restricted free agent Greg Monroe together and is surveying the market for Smith’s value.
Last season, Smith averaged a career high 3.4 three-point attempts per game, but made just 26% of them. In his ten year career, he’s a 28% shooter from downtown. He also shot a career-low 41% overall and was not a strong defensive fit, to say the least, on the floor with Drummond and Monroe. On the offensive end, the spacing is an issue, compounded by the fact that Smith is simply not an efficient perimeter threat.
The Kings would likely face similar problems if they acquired Smith, as he would be paired up with the returning Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. However, there are several factors as to why they may be interested. First, Smith is very close friends with Rajon Rondo. The two were teammates at Oak Hill Academy, and acquiring Smith could be the first move towards potentially bringing Rondo to Sacramento. Second, the Kings appear to want to win now, and believe they’re just a piece or two away from getting back into the playoff race. And third, after seeing how Gay was able to improve in Sacramento, the Kings might think they have a way to integrate Smith into their system and bring the best out of him.
For all these reasons, whether it’s Smith or someone else, the Kings may be very active this summer in trying to land one more piece to their starting line-up. At the end of yesterday, talks apparently broke off between the two teams. But keep a close eye on Sacramento, they look primed to make a move this offseason.
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