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Why The Kings Should Avoid Trading For Josh Smith

By 07.17.14
Ben McLemore, Josh Smith,  Reggie Evans

Ben McLemore, Josh Smith, Reggie Evans (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)


The Kings are again looking to make a deal for Detroit’s underwhelming 2013 free agent acquisition, Josh Smith. The two clubs recently returned to a deal they had discussed last month, reports ESPN’s Marc Stein. We’re not so sure the deal works for Sacramento, though.

According to Stein’s sources with knowledge of the situation, the original deal in place had Sacramento sending Jason Thompson and either Jason Terry or Derrick Williams to the Pistons. The deal never worked itself out and the discussions were tabled until this month.

The Kings are hoping to add Smith to a frontcourt already featuring DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. The similarities to the triumvirate in Detroit during their disappointing 2013-14 campaign are hard to miss. The Pistons tried to squeeze Smith alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond and the lack of spacing combined with the same shot-selection issues plaguing Smith in Atlanta proved disastrous for coach Maurice Cheekshe was fired midway through the season — and GM Joe Dumars, who resigned after splurging on Smith in free agency and working a deal with Milwaukee to acquire Brandon Jennings in a sign-and-trade.

Now, Detroit is trying to get out from the three years and more than $40 million remaining on Smith’s current deal and the equivocal possibility frontcourt mate, Greg Monroe doesn’t want to play with him.

Here’s Stein explaining Sacramento’s interest

Sources say the Kings continue to give the addition of Smith serious consideration, largely because the discussions to date have not required them to part with any players in their long-term plans and would also add a versatile and athletic defender to a roster that badly needs one, given how much Kings coach Mike Malone is known to preach defense.

Watching Smith — particularly in person — one is struck by how long and athletic he can look on the court, and the crazy amount of ability he can show if he’s engaged on that particular night. If he’s passing up the three-pointers he often favors, and working to get into the paint, and dissuading opponents from the paint on the other end, he has the capability to be one of the best hybrid forwards in the league. Despite finishing his tenth NBA season this past year, Smith’s only 28, usually the prime for an NBA player.

Still, Smith’s scowl speaks wonders about his attitude on the hardwood, and we’ve already gone through how awful his shot selection can be. It remains to be seen whether any NBA coach — even a smart one like Mike Malone — can get through to him and get him to bang on the block rather than feast on those tempting long-range bombs. With Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings already possess two shoot-first players in their frontcourt, and the addition of Smith — like it was for Detroit — could mess up the chemistry that peeked out towards the latter portion of Sacramento’s ’13-’14 season.

For Detroit, this simply feels like a salary dump to appease Monroe or open up an often cluttered paint area on offense last year. We know new GM/coach Stan Van Gundy is no fan of malcontents and that’s exactly what can happen to J Smoove if he isn’t feeling a specific situation. Still, we’re not sure Sacramento is the answer, we just wished someone could tap into the reservoir of talent we know Smith has shimmering beneath the surface of his annoyed countenance.

Should the Kings do this deal?

Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.

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TAGSDEMARCUS COUSINSDETROIT PISTONSDimeMagGREG MONROEJOSH SMITHRudy GaySACRAMENTO KINGS

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