Less than roughly half a season into the four-year, $56 million deal the Detroit Pistons inked with Josh Smith in summer free agency, the team might already be open to parting ways with the 28-year-old temperamental forward.
ProBasketballTalk.com is reporting, the team has grown nearly as disappointed with Smith’s moody ways as he has with being forced to spend so much of his time playing out of character and in unfamiliar settings.
It’s all meant for what thus far easily rates as Smith’s worse statistical campaign in nine NBA seasons. Smith is averaging just 15 points this season, compared to 18 over his last three as an Atlanta Hawk. Perhaps even more glaringly, his rebounds are down by at least two a game over that same period and he’s suddenly struggling with supplying all the off-the-chart intangibles that have long and uniquely made him Josh Smith.
Long regarded as one of the league’s premier front-court defenders, Smith still fares well enough guarding four men in the post, but with a starting front-line that also includes Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, more often than not, he now finds him out on the perimeter trying to guard quicker, more skilled and savvy small forwards.
On the offensive-end of the floor, Smith’s shot selection has also often been a bone-of-contention for rookie coach Maurice Cheeks, as his growing frustrations seemingly have led him back to his old habits of firing up boneheaded and wayward jumpers.
After weeks of speculation, even Monroe might be on the block, ESPN reported this week the Pistons are letting all would-be-seekers instantly know the 23-year-old, 6-foot-11, 250 pound, fourth-year stud is not available, thus further fueling talk Smith may indeed prove to be the odd man out.
While the three plus years remaining on Smith’s $56 million deal make him a difficult piece to move, ProBasketballTalk reports deals with Boston for Gerald Wallace, the Knicks for Andrea Bargnani and the Bobcats for Ben Gordon have been proposed largely based on the fact the contractual numbers for all the proposed teams involved make sense for all the would-be parties.
Through all the turmoil, the Pistons remain a viable Eastern Conference playoff contender, currently sitting as the No. 10 seed but still less than two games behind Charlotte for the conference’s final playoff spot.