According to a recent post on Hoops Rumors, via Chris Broussard, the Pistons are rumored to be “eager to trade Josh Smith”. This report, which Broussard sourced from executives around the league, doesn’t come as a huge shock to anybody who has watched the Pistons play this season. Smith is suffering decreases in his output and efficiency across the board and is the main scapegoat for the Pistons’ struggles to this point. He also has had an up-and-down relationship with coach Mo Cheeks, with several in-game benchings for a lack of effort and a benching for missing practice being the fuel for their disagreements.
Smith signed a 4-year, $56 million dollar contract this past off-season as the main haul in what was supposed to be another makeover for the Pistons’ roster. With that factor and the issue of Smith’s decreasing quality of play, he may be hard to trade for a fair return or just simply hard to trade at all. In any deal involving Smith, the Pistons will likely be asked to take on another bad contract, or be asked to give up a 1st round pick similar to the Ben Gordon trade a few summers ago. Unless the Pistons acquire a 1st round pick for this season or next, they aren’t allowed to trade their 2015 1st round pick, which would leave the Pistons projecting a pick out into 2016 and beyond. With all things considered, here are a few trades, which make varying amounts of sense, that could rid the Pistons of the beleaguered Forward.
DET Receives: SG Ben Gordon, SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
CHA Receives: PF Josh Smith, SF Kyle Singler
If you’re wondering why the Bobcats would give up on the 2nd overall pick in the 2012 draft already, you probably haven’t followed his career much. MKG has zero offensive game to speak of and appears to be an overrated defender. Not only does he boast a defensive rating of 108 in his career (Brandon Jennings is at 110 this year), but he was the primary defender when Carmelo Anthony scored 62 points last week. Kidd-Gilchrist is an adequate rebounder for his position and scouts have always liked his intangibles, so maybe there’s something to be salvaged. The Pistons take Ben Gordon’s salary to match Smith’s and get out from under the last three years of Smith’s deal. Singler goes to Charlotte to start at SF alongside Smith, who becomes the defensive helper that Al Jefferson needs. This is a “reset button” deal for the Pistons, leaving them with more cap room to work with this upcoming offseason, with the downside being that they take a hit to their playoff hopes. A development to watch with this trade would be how it affects the 1st round pick that the Pistons owe to Charlotte.
DET Receives: PF Kevin Garnett
BKN Receives: PF Josh Smith
This trade would likely never happen, but it makes some sense. The Nets have righted the ship over the last month, going 9-2 in January coming into tonight’s game against Oklahoma City (might as well call it 9-3). Garnett’s increased shooting efficiency (62% FG in January vs. 42% for the season) has been a part of that run, but he is still performing well below the standards that will make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. For the season, Garnett is averaging 6.9 PPG and 6.9 RPG and only boasts 45 TS%; he is not a starter anymore. However, if the Pistons did hold on to him as opposed to shipping him off to a contender, he could bring a variety of things to the Pistons. While not as good as he once was, Garnett is still a good post defender. With a DRtg of 101, he’d instantly be the Pistons’ best post defender (Drummond 102, Monroe, 107). This move gets the Pistons out from underneath two years of Smith’s deal, with Garnett under contract for two years. Smith starts at PF for the Nets, who then use Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans at the C position. Smith becomes the defensive anchor that Garnett was, with the upside of improving upon Garnett’s offense. Disclaimer: No, I don’t expect this to happen.
DET Receives: SF Wilson Chandler, PF Darrell Arthur, PG Andre Miller, SG Wayne Ellington, SF Jae Crowder
DEN Receives: PF Josh Smith, SF Kyle Singler, PG Will Bynum, PF Jonas Jerebko, 2014 2nd Rd Pick (from DAL via BOS)
DAL Receives: C Timofey Mozgov, PF Tony Mitchell
In terms of the main pieces of the deal, the Pistons receive a better fit for their offense at SF, and the Nuggets obtain a new starting PF, making Kenneth Faried the ultimate bench player he should be. In terms of the smaller pieces, the Nuggets turn a PG who isn’t active (Miller), a struggling bench big (Arthur), and a good C into a good backup wing, a veteran backup PG a playable backup PF and a 2nd round pick. Dallas gets a better starting C than the one they have in exchange for a sharpshooter and a role-playing backup wing. The Pistons turn Smith’s contract into a good SF, an okay backup big, a shooter and a role player to replace Singler. The downfall in the deal is acquiring old, grumpy Andre Miller, who has no semblance of a jump shot. However, he has the reputation of a defensive stopper, which might make him okay to pair with Brandon Jennings in the rotation.
Post your thoughts and your own Josh Smith trades in the comments. Also, while writing this, Hoops Rumors posted that Taj Gibson is available in trades, hopefully to a team far, far away from the Central Division.