Pistons Waive Josh Smith in Shocking Move
The Detroit Pistons signed forward Josh Smith to a big deal two years ago in hopes he’d be part of the answer to their problems. As it turns out, cutting him loose might make them better.
Per reports, the Pistons have given up on “Smoove” just two years into his four-year, $54 million deal. Detroit waived Smith via the NBA’s stretch provision, which will allow them to split up the remains of his $27 million owed money over the next five years.
To The Future
First year head coach Stan Van Gundy had recently suggested the Pistons will have an eye on the future the rest of the way thanks to a paltry 5-23 start. No one could have imagined this is what he meant.
By releasing Smoove now, the Pistons turn their full attention to big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Monroe is in a contract season, but with Josh Smith out the door, the chances of keeping him around on a long-term deal are greatly enhanced. Monroe was previously thought to be the odd man out, but was always a more natural fit at the four spot and could now be a key part of Detroit’s rebuilding plans.
Drummond was always going to be the main focal point and the release of Smith should now allow him to get more touches on a nightly basis. While still raw offensively, the idea is that with more work in games, Drummond will improve enough that the Pistons can start working into a playoff contender a year from now.
The release of Smith also symbolizes a youth movement in genera, which could also create more time for other young players on the team. That could spell trouble for Brandon Jennings and other veterans that have to this point performed below expectations.
Where Does Smoove Go?
While it’s a move that makes sense for the Pistons’ future, it’s somewhat shocking Detroit couldn’t find a way to trade such a big name player. Smith is still a valuable asset even though no one wanted to take on his salary via a trade. He should still garner plenty of interest as a free agent, while numerous teams were caught up on the Josh Smith rumors just a few months ago.
The Sacramento Kings probably were near the top of the list of the more interested teams, while the Los Angeles Clippers have also been in need of some help at small forward. If the Houston Rockets could be convinced they can get him to play well at the four spot, Smoove could be a candidate to head to Texas, as well, while no one can really ever rule out the Los Angeles Lakers, as well.
Just 29 and loaded with talent and versatility, Smith could still be a great piece to a contender. He just needs to have the right role and proper coaching to pan out.
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