If you’re a Pistons fan you’ve heard it before. If there is any team in the NBA that would be interested in Josh Smith’s remaining 3 year 40.5 million dollar contract, it could be the Boston Celtics that come calling.
It’s one simple connection that creates the Josh Smith to Boston pipe dream. For Boston fans, it’s wondering what it would be like if Smith and Rajon Rondo connected again on the court. Detroit fans just want some to see one of the worst contracts in the NBA passed on to one of the other 29 teams in the league.
In late February, that dream seemed to come to an end when various reports surfaced that the Pistons front office is seeking more than just expiring contracts for their splash signing last summer.
Now with a complete franchise makeover, it might be time to reopen the possibility. It’s hard to picture a deal going down without a head coach or general manager in place, but according to the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy, there is a player the Celtics would look to deal this off-season. Murphy writes that forward Jeff Green didn’t impress Celtics management last season.
He was a volume scorer and shooter on a bad team, with two more years at $9.2 million each — the second not guaranteed — left on his contract. He’s eminently available if there’s a contender who believes Green can fit in as a third or fourth guy.
Could a new general manager make this deal work? It’s not the first time a Green for Smith swapped has been discussed by basketball media. ESPN’s Bill Simmons, a noted Celtic fan wrote about the possibility back near the trade deadline as part of his annual Worst Contract article at Grantland.com.
I spent 30 minutes on YouTube recently watching old Oak Hill highlights with Josh and best buddy Rajon Rondo while wondering if the Celtics should deal Jeff Green and Keith Bogans’s expiring deal for him. You know what frightens me? I think I’d be excited if this happened! My God, Josh Smith is my Atrocious GM Kryptonite!
The Pistons should be desperate for a wing that has displayed the type of talent that Jeff Green brings to the table right away.
One of the biggest weaknesses of the Pistons offense was stretching the floor. Detroit finished first in the league in points per game in the paint, but second to last in shooting efficiency. Does Green help that issue? Not necessarily. But he does stretch the floor. At times he’s been an above average shooter, but he still lacks a full consistency. It seems like at points, the game is too fast for him. But there is another player in the league with the last name Green that many thought the same about a year ago.
Maybe a change of scenery (again) could be the ticket to success.
The 28 year old Gerald Green started his career in Boston in 2005. He was out of the league before his mid 20s. After playing overseas, Green got a shot with the Nets halfway through the lockout season. After signing a three year deal with the Pacers, Green was given a shot to run and gun with the Phoenix Suns this season after being traded with Miles Plumlee for a first round pick. Green thrived for the first time in his career in the up-tempo offense.
Like Jeff Green, Gerald shot under 35% from three point range before this season. Now he’s well above 40% from downtown and has learned how to best use his skills to make his team better. The Suns were way better than people ever expected because of his output. He doubled his points per game numbers and vastly improved nearly ever offensive number you can think of. Sometimes it just takes the right fit to blossom your game.
With the right coaching staff, Detroit could be that fit.
Making it Happen
There are a handful of ways the Pistons and Celtics could reach an agreement to better their teams. There have been many reports that Boston is really interested in bringing Greg Monroe to TD Garden to anchor the interior. The C’s have been without a low post presence and would like to get back to playing old style ball. The only way this deal happens is with a sign and trade. Monroe is going to get a max deal as a restricted free agent. To even things out, Green would either have to sign a new deal, or the Pistons would need some help money wise. It doesn’t seem likely that Boston is now willing to deal point guard Rajon Rondo, but there are a couple of scenarios that make sense. A Greg Monroe and Brandon Jennings for Rondo and Green seems like a pipe dream. The Celtic point guard is an unrestricted free agent in 2015.
But sending Green and Kelly Olynyk plus one of their many first round picks for Monroe seems to make sense.
If the Pistons don’t buy in being able to play Josh Smith at the four, then it’s possible that Danny Ainge could see the value in having Josh Smith and his point guard re-united. The move would give the Celtics a second scoring threat, and possibly put people in the seats. When your highest paid player is Kris Humphries, you know there is something wrong. The Celtics will shed that contract as well as a few others to create some cap space. The only thing getting in the way is the limbo of Avery Bradley. Will he be back with the Celtics next year? If the front office believes in him, it might become that much easier to deal their franchise player.
The Jeff Green Intrigue
I tend to agree with many fans out there who believe there is not too many changes that need to be made before the Pistons return to being contenders to make the playoffs. There are a handful of personnel moves that could make the transition faster. One of those is an athletic wing that can get to the rack, step back and shoot, and cut to the lane. The move would give the Pistons a change they need without giving up their identity.
Green is great in the paint and has flashed at times how good he can be with his back to the basket. Inside 8′ Green shot 56%. It’s the mid-range game that needs work.
A familiar weakness in the Pistons offensive game plan.
What Green brings to the table is an explosive scorer that can figure out as a secondary scorer, how to exploit defenses. He struggled as the go to guy this season, but still had moments that with consistency, would of propelled him near the leagues elite.
Is it worth it for a franchise trying to dig itself out of a hole to put so much stock in a player like Green?
That’s the question everyone is wondering and is hoping the next general manager has the answers to.