Jan 31, 2014, 7:48 PM EDT
Josh Smith is having the worst season of his career.
Playing far too much small forward, a position he can handle only in select matchups, his defense has really fallen off. Though Smith defends power forwards well, his his lack of speed on the perimeter kills his ability to chase wings around screens. He’s also taking way too many jumpers and not getting inside enough, an issue that exists no matter which forward position he’s playing.
Some of that is Smith fault, and some of that is the Pistons’. But it’s all the Pistons’ problem.
The Pistons signed Smith to a four-year, $54 million contract last summer, and they’ll have to pay him all that money – or find someone else to do it.
The Josh Smith experiment in Detroit is not going well, and there’s strong opinion around the league that the Pistons would trade him if they could — and “could” is the key word. Since Smith is in the first year of a four-year, $56 million deal, he is one of the most untradable players in the league.
If the Pistons are desperate to trade Smith, that’s something people around the league would know, because that would mean the Pistons are calling around to shop him.
That would also jive with the Pistons’ reported plan to keep Greg Monroe.
Here are a few Smith trade ideas, from least appealing to most appealing from a Pistons perspective:
- Smith to the Celtics for Gerald Wallace (three years remaining on his contract) – with Keith Bogans (zero remaining guaranteed years) included to make salaries match
- Smith to the Knicks for Andrea Bargnani (two years remaining)
- Smith to the Bobcats for Ben Gordon (expiring contract)
- Smith to the Suns for Emeka Okafor (expiring contract whose salary is partially covered by insurance)
Some of those players would make the Pistons a little better, some a little worse. But that’s not the point here. These deals are totally about the contracts.
Gordon would be the most interesting deal of the four. The Pistons actually traded Gordon and a first-round pick to Charlotte to clear the cap room used to sign Smith. The Bobcats could really use a power forward, and Smith would fit relatively well in Charlotte.
But would Dumars so publically admit a mistake? After all, the series of transactions – trading Gordon and a pick for Corey Maggette’s expiring contract, signing Smith, trading Smith for Gordon – would essentially leave the Pistons nothing to show for their troubles except a lost first-round pick.
In a completely logical world, those previous moves wouldn’t matter. They’re sunk costs. If trading Smith for Gordon improves the Pistons’ outlook now, they should do it.
Obviously, it doesn’t always work that way.
But much earlier in his tenure, Dumars’ biggest strength was his ability to admit and fix mistakes.
- He whiffed on the Mateen Cleaves pick, but sent the former Michigan State point guard to the Kings after just one year for Jon Barry (a strong backup during the Pistons’ resurgance) and a first-round pick that became Carlos Delfino.
- The next year, Dumars drafted Rodney White, another bust. Again, he traded White after just one year to the Nuggets for a do-over first-rounder – which was eventually part of the Rasheed Wallace trade and, coincidentally, used to select Smith.
- When Ben Wallace left Detroit, Dumars gave Nazr Mohammed a long contract to replace him. But after just a season-and-a-half with the Pistons, Mohammed was sent to Charlotte for spare parts.
Would Dumars repeat that productive, though self-deprecating. approach here? Would he admit his mistake and dump Smith for simply a shorter contract?
Perhaps the better question: Can he?
Sep 2, 2015, 5:38 PM EDT
Expect the Mavericks to be cautious with his return.
Sep 2, 2015, 4:59 PM EDT
Best ever little guy? Calvin Murphy is in the HOF, so he’s the man.
Sep 2, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT
It won’t be called Seagull Kneivel
Sep 2, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT
Advanced stats aren’t always the answer
Sep 2, 2015, 2:17 PM EDT
If only I could get people to run up to fist bump me while I walk…
Sep 2, 2015, 1:20 PM EDT
I’m not optimistic, but at least they appear to be trying
Sep 2, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT
Point guard reportedly working out in Philadelphia
Sep 2, 2015, 11:33 AM EDT
Watch this and try not to smile
Sep 2, 2015, 10:33 AM EDT
Heat got a steal
Sep 2, 2015, 9:28 AM EDT
Sep 2, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT
Welcome to the big stage, Canada.
Sep 2, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT
For Lawson personally I hope this move and this situation is what he needs to get his life in order.
Sep 2, 2015, 12:05 AM EDT
Lin’s alter ego: Wayne
Sep 1, 2015, 11:07 PM EDT
Griffin will give Pistons 19 players, 17 with guaranteed salaries
Sep 1, 2015, 10:07 PM EDT
LeBron indicates 1999-00 Trail Blazers were great, implies something about his own career
Sep 1, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT
Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside look pretty good on paper
Sep 1, 2015, 8:01 PM EDT
Russians don’t even have Alexey Shved
Sep 1, 2015, 7:01 PM EDT
Luis Scola leads Argentina to victory over Canada
Sep 1, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT
He’s a 6’7″ combo guard with a lot of potential
Sep 1, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT
Well, that’s one.
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