Initial talks called for Sacramento to send Jason Thompson and either Derrick Williams or Jason Terry to the Pistons for Smith, but those discussions reached an impasse and were pushed into July along with the rest of both teams’ free-agent business, sources said.
Sources said the Pistons also seriously discussed various sign-and-trade scenarios this month that would have landed restricted free agent Greg Monroe in Portland, but the Blazers ultimately pulled themselves out of the race for Monroe by signing free-agent big man Chris Kaman to join Robin Lopez in the Blazers’ center rotation.
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.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, furthermore, is known to be fond of splashy moves. And trading for Smith, given the lukewarm reviews of his first season with the Pistons, would certainly qualify as bold.
As we’ve previously discussed, Detroit would be in a much better financial position if it could clear the $40.5 million owed to Smith over the next three seasons. He hasn’t been an efficient offensive player for the past few seasons, and he was never a natural fit with the Pistons if they were planning on keeping both Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond around.
If Smith can regain his form from, say, four years ago, he could help Sacramento in a big way, though taking on that kind of contract is still questionable. A frontcourt of Rudy Gay, Smith and DeMarcus Cousins is intriguing, and the Kings have badly needed a rim protector for a while. They just cannot afford to have him jacking jump shots and wasting possessions.
The 28-year-old averaged 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game in his first season in Detroit, shooting just 41.9 percent from the field. He spent a significant amount of time at small forward there, however, and presumably wouldn’t have to do that in Sacramento.