You know the feeling you get when you wake up from a nightmare and realize it wasn’t real? Stan Van Gundy can give Detroit Pistons fans that feeling if he finds a way to trade Josh Smith.
What once appeared to be impossible is now a possibility. The Pistons were in trade talks with the Sacramento Kings last night about a potential deal that would send Smith out of town. While that trade doesn’t seem as likely anymore, it should still give hope that a future one is possible. It won’t even matter if Van Gundy trades Smith for 60 cents on the dollar — Pistons fans just want him gone.
In so many ways, Smith is the epitome of the last six years of Detroit basketball, and he’s only been here for one of them. For years, the organization irresponsibly spent money in free agency, trying to manufacture a winning team. There is nothing more deflating for a team than having multiple long-term bad contracts on the books. It makes the entire organization count down the days until the contracts run out, completely stalling any potential growth.
This is why it would bring so much hope to the fanbase if Van Gundy is able to fast forward to the end of the Smith contract. It would be a chance to erase the mistakes from the past regime, and create a sign of moving forward. It would also give the Pistons cap flexibility for years to come. Perhaps most importantly, it would allow Detroit to re-sign Greg Monroe to a long-term contract.
The Pistons will also need room to sign Andre Drummond to an extension when that time comes.
Despite the fact that trading away Smith this summer is still unlikely, progress has been made. At the very least, it appears that Van Gundy isn’t falling into the trap of thinking he will be the coach that can fix Smith’s faults. It may not happen immediately, but I believe that Van Gundy will make sure Smith isn’t in a Pistons uniform at the end of his contract.