Jul 17, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT
Just before the draft, the Pistons and Kings discussed a trade that would send Josh Smith to Sacramento.
Neither Sacramento tinkering with its guard rotation nor Detroit’s failure so far to retain a promising big man whose camp reportedly has a problem with Smith discourages a Smith-Kings trade.
So talks are back on.
The Detroit Pistons and the Sacramento Kings have resumed trade discussions on a deal that could send Josh Smith to Sacramento, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com the Kings have continued to express interest in Smith and the parties are on the hunt for a third team that could help facilitate the deal.
Initial talks called for Sacramento to send Jason Thompson and either Derrick Williams or Jason Terry to the Pistons for Smith, but those discussions reached an impasse and were pushed into July along with the rest of both teams’ free-agent business, sources said.
I’m always leery of failed trade talks that involve a search for a third team. If anyone wanted Thompson or Terry, Sacramento would have traded those two by now. It’s extremely unlikely the Kings can dump their trash on another team when it can’t convince the Pistons to accept it.
I’m also reluctant to actually believe another team wants Smith, who has three years and $40.5 million remaining on his contract. He’d likely start for Sacramento, and he’d definitely upgrade the talent there. But that’s a lot of money to pay someone who will remove flexibility in coming seasons and might not even improve the team immediately. For all Smith’s talent, he might do more harm by jacking bad shots and limiting Rudy Gay’s minutes as a small-ball four, a place the former Raptors and Grizzlies player has proven effective with the Kings.
If the Pistons extract Williams, the No. 2 pick just three years ago who has yet to find any traction in the NBA, that’s phenomenal return for Smith. If they must settle for Thompson and Terry, that’s just the cost of doing business after signing Smith to that awful contract. Terry’s contract expires after this season, but Thompson’s has three years remaining and a trade kicker, though the final year is just partially guaranteed.
Detroit wants flexibility, and Sacramento wants talent. Until those conditions change, a Smith trade will continue to make at least some sense for both sides.
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