With the NBA trade deadline just days away, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons are expected to be looking around for a deal. Los Angeles has supposedly been shopping around Pau Gasol while Detroit has been wavering back and forth between Josh Smith or Greg Monroe.
If the Pistons GM Joe Dumars was smart, he would choose to hold onto the younger, potentially more skilled player in Monroe. This leaves Smith as the odd man out. Smith recently signed a four-year, $54 million contract last offseason, but the combination of him, Monroe and Andre Drummond on the front line has been a total disaster.
Detroit had high hopes to grab a high seed this season in a weak Eastern Conference, butthe group does not collectively fit by any means. The team holds the ninth seed as of today despite being way more talented, on paper, than most of the Eastern Conference teams. This season has not only been embarrassing for the Pistons, but depressing as well. After having a lottery pick in last season’s draft and ample cap space, the team has still found a way to remain in mediocrity.
This is where the Lakers come into play. Josh Smith has been rumored in the past to be a possibility for Los Angeles to trade for. Any deal would have been built around Gasol, but unfortunately the Atlanta Hawks at the time would not budge on a deal. With Los Angeles having the worst season possibly in team history, they are sure to make a splash in free agency this offseason as well as via trade.
There are not many big names hitting the open market this summer so it would make more sense for the Lakers to try and make a blockbuster trade. A deal involving Gasol and Smith would certainly be of that magnitude. Yes, Smith is having his worst season of his career, but it’s not all his fault. NBA teams are aware of how special of a player Smith can be both defensively and offensively when in the correct system.
Making a deal would make sense for both sides as Detroit can get out from under Smith’s lengthy contract and Los Angeles can acquire a former All-Star at a fair price. If the Lakers were to acquire Smith, the team would still have the cap space to sign a very productive player in free agency. Add a top draft pick to the mix and the Lakers may be back into contention in the near future.
Even if the Pistons are not interested in acquiring Gasol, the team can involve a third party who is willing to take the $19 million expiring contract. Although this deal has not been discussed, be on the watch for rumors to heat up this week.