Josh Smith makes first free agency stop in Detroit
The Hawks, who are also a part in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, have shown been more interest in moving Smith in a sign-and-trade deal rather than re-signing him to a long-term contract. So, the Pistons swooped in on the chance to make a preemptive strike on Smith, with the understanding that he is secondary priority for several teams awaiting the Howards’ final decision in free agency.
The Pistons could clear nearly $29 million in cap space if they amnesty power forward Charlie Villanueva and part ways with point guard Jose Calderon. But Adrian Wojnarowski reports that re-signing Calderon is a top priority for the Pistons this summer. Calderon has a cap hold of $16 million, so if the Pistons have any intentions of keeping him which should significantly reduce the team’s available cap space.
But the Pistons will still have $12 million in cap space to offer Josh Smith a reasonable four-year contract, after he reportedly remained one of the team’s top priorities on the market, according to a league source.
Another player the Pistons remain interested in and could pursue later on Monday is Denver Nuggets swingman Andre Iguaodala, the source also told Yahoo! Sports.
So far, Smith has played his entire nine-season career in the NBA with the Hawks. Last season, Josh Smith averaged17.5 points on 46.5 percent shooting along with 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks, while appearing in 76 regular season games for the Hawks.
Smith is without doubt a huge talent upgrade for the Pistons’ group of young players in the front court. Barring another move, Smith could find plenty of time to play with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond upfront. The Pistons believe Smith can play both 3 and 4 positions. However, the Pistons’ frontline would also leave a lot of spacing to be desired in the half-court. It can be argued whether Smith's chances of transition on the defensive end could be jeopardized by the Pistons’ lack of playmaking point guards, the defensive upside to his presence should introduce more consistency.
Allowing Smith to test free agency is a risky move by the Hawks, and should make them even more desperate to land Dwight Howard.