Report: Stan Van Gundy Tells Josh Smith He’ll Likely Stay With Pistons

New coach and president of basketball operations for the Pistons Stan Van Gundy has a lot of work to do with a team that finished 31-51 after a pair of marquee signings last summer. The biggest one featured the free agent acquisition of hybrid forward Josh Smith who signed for four years and $54 million last July. Yahoo is reporting now that after rampant trade rumors the last two weeks, Van Gundy has reached out to Smith and told him he’s likely to remain in uniform next season

This could very well be an attempt to smooth over any J Smoove ruffled feathers after reports surfaced earlier this summer the Pistons were in talks to send Smith to Sacramento. As early as last week, the Pistons were supposedly looking to deal Smith to the Kings for Jason Thompson and either Jason Terry or Derrick Williams. We didn’t like the trade for the front-court heavy Kings, and now comes the news — by way of Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports — Van Gundy has all but assured Smith he’ll be returning to play for the Pistons next year:

Detroit Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy reached out to forward Josh Smith to tell him that reports of the franchise engaging in substantive trade talks with Sacramento centered on Smith have been inaccurate and – barring an unexpected turn of events – Smith will be in training camp with the Pistons this fall, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Sacramento had made calls about Smith in June, but Detroit never heard an offer that remotely interested them and never seriously engaged in discussions, sources told Yahoo Sports.

So, just to summarize what this means: the Pistons were fielding offers for Smith, who was a pretty big disappointment during his first season in Motown, but no one submitted anything of substance to entice a possible swap for Smith — we’re assuming that includes Sac-town.

It now appears Van Gundy, someone who still remembers the Dwightmare in Orlando, and — in an attempt to make make up for dangling Smith earlier in the off-season — is telling him now they’re not going to trade him.

This is a smart move for a multitude of reasons, but we’re not sure it’s entirely above-board. Van Gundy — and new GM Jeff Bower — would absolutely deal Smith if the right offer came along. But since that deal hasn’t materialized, even during the halcyon days of free agency after LeBron’s decision, they’re attempting to appease Smith behind the scenes, scoffing at any notion of a proposed trade that would have shed the remaining three years and $40.5 million Smith has left on his deal.

We already know there’s some strife bubbling not too-far below the surface between Smith and fellow forward Greg Monroe, who may have asked Pistons brass to trade the former Hawk, or not.

Now, the incoming coach/prez and new GM are telling Smith he should rest easy, and they’re not going to trade him even while they just spent the last month looking to do just that.

Why do we get the feeling they’ll be dangling Smith again in February if the Pistons come out of the gate slow next season?


Will Smith be in a Pistons uniform next season?

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