Don’t give up just yet on a possible trade that would send Josh Smith to the Kings.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Pistons and Kings have reopened trade talks for the power forward and according to his sources, are searching out a third team to make a trade possible.
Stein says that the Kings continue to push for Smith because the Pistons aren’t looking to acquire players in their long term plans and that adding Smith could be a good asset to have when trying to reel his High School teammate Rajon Rondo from Boston via trade.
Sources say the Kings continue to give the addition of Smith serious consideration, largely because the discussions to date have not required them to part with any players in their long-term plans and would also add a versatile and athletic defender to a roster that badly needs one, given how much Kings coach Mike Malone is known to preach defense.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, furthermore, is known to be fond of splashy moves. And trading for Smith, given the lukewarm reviews of his first season with the Pistons, would certainly qualify as bold.
Another potential bonus is Smith’s close relationship with Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, whom Sacramento has been targeting in trade talks for some time.
The Pistons nixed a deal that would of sent Smith to the Kings last month in exchange for Jason Thompson and Derek Williams. If they are targeting players that aren’t important parts of the Kings future, it makes sense that they are looking for a third team to facilitate a trade.
Williams, who has been a bust so far in his NBA career, has shown some new life in his performances at the Las Vegas Summer League this week. He could be back on the Pistons radar after averaging 12 points and 3 rebounds for the Kings in Summer League play.
Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney profiled Williams on Monday and had an interesting thought on why the 2nd overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has never turned into the player the league thought he could be. He believes nobody has given him the opportunity to develop.
That much seems certain. Sacramento, however, hasn’t given Williams the developmental incubator he needs yet. It’s not only minutes or touches that mold a quality prospect into a reputable player, but also a particular combination of opportunity and instruction. Young players need to be pushed to the point where they are allowed to make mistakes yet channeled in a way that reduces them. They need to be surrounded by players who bring out the best in them and vice versa. The precise recipe has yet to be found for Williams, in part because the Kings play a style that limits his strengths. Like so many hyper-athletic tweener types, what Williams needs is an ordered chaos – a basketball orientation that would allow him to move freely around the floor and best leverage those in-between skills that Malone described.
The Pistons under head coach Stan Van Gundy could be the destination that helps bring out the best in Williams. Van Gundy is known for his ability to bring out the best in players and the style he will play better suits Williams’ game. The former Arizona Wildcat could slip into Josh Smith’s role as a backup power forward who would receive a good amount of minutes per night.
Another player that has really stepped up his game this summer is former Baylor Bear Quincy Acy. The power forward has shown in Summer League play a much improved mid-range game. He’s averaged 12 points per game and grabbing 8 rebounds per contest. All while shooting above 50 percent from the field.
If the Kings are so enamored by Josh Smith — a third team could be needed to balance out salaries if Detroit is only willing to take on expiring contracts.
Sacramento, who is looking to dump Jason Terry‘s expiring $6 million, could send him to Detroit. I
In return the Pistons could deal one of their expiring contracts or prospects to a third team to help balance things out.
After the signing of Jodie Meeks and D.J. Augustin, it’s hard to imagine that the Pistons have any interest in backcourt help. Detroit native Ray McCollum and shooting guard Ben McLemore were rumored to be targets in June, when trade talks originally opened between the Kings and the Pistons.