There were talks in June that the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons were discussing a deal that would bring veteran NBA forward Josh Smith to Sacramento. Those talks ceased, though, when the two teams couldn’t come to any kind of agreement or middle-ground. With the big names in Free Agency off the board now, those talks are seemingly underway once again.
According to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Kings and Pistons have begun conversations again in recent days with Smith once again at the center of the discussions. The two teams reportedly weren’t done when talks ended in June and were rather just pushed to July so to let NBA Free Agency unfold and dominos around the league to fall.
In Stein’s report, he states that the Kings were originally looking to send a package that featured Jason Thompson coupled with the Pistons’ choice of Jason Terry or Derrick Williams. If a deal is to be reached, Thompson or Williams is likely to still be involved. However, since no agreement was reached with that package in June, there’s a chance that Sacramento could either alter their package to send to Detroit or potentially bring in a third team to ensure a deal getting done.
Looking past everything associated with this potential deal and what it might take to get it done, though, the Kings’ pursuit of Smith is highly perplexing. There’s no doubt that Smith is immensely talented and just hasn’t fully “got it” yet (though he is 28 years old at this point), but he’s also a player that just doesn’t make sense in Sacramento.
The Kings and new owner Vivek Ranadive made it clear that he’s going to build his team around center DeMarcus Cousins when he signed him to a huge extension. With Cousins and the still-in-tow Rudy Gay on the roster, though, there is a real need to space the floor and Smith is hardly the guy to do that.
Smith’s struggles as an outside shooter have been widely noted and highlighted by the fact that he won’t stop taking threes and long-twos. For reference, Smith shot 55.6 percent on 565 shots from less than eight feet last season, but shot an abysmal 30.4 percent on 668 shots from eight feet or farther away from the basket. That not only shows a lack of production with jump shooting, but also poor decision-making.
That widely known fact makes Smith a questionable addition alone, but putting that player alongside a player like Gay who has received criticism for the exact same things as Smith seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Even more than that, trading Smith would cripple the Kings in the salary cap with them taking on his massive three-year deal.
Since taking over the team, no one has been able to peg exactly what Ranadive’s plan is to build around Cousins, but he has shown no hesitance in pulling the trigger on big moves to add big names. Smith is certainly a recognizable name and, as Stein also points out, is close with Rajon Rondo who Sacramento has also reportedly been in talks about trading for. Looking at the basketball in all of this, though, going after Smith is a senseless move on the part of the Kings.