It's been less than seven months since the Detroit Pistons committed long-term money to forward Josh Smith, but general manager Joe Dumars may already regret the move. The Pistons are actively trying to move , according to a report from USA Today's Sam Amick.
Smith signed a four-year, $54 million contract with the Pistons in free agency last summer and the deal has backfired already. Paired with Brandon Jennings, Smith was supposed to allow Detroit to blossom with young stars Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in a weakened Eastern Conference. But that hasn't been the case, with the Pistons currently sitting just outside the playoff picture at 20-29.
The much-maligned tweener hasn't fit in well in Detroit, and his shot chart is a big reason why. Smith's shot selection has always been a cause for concern and, despite going hard in the paint in the early part of the season, he has regressed to his career mean and is shooting far too many long, contested jumpers.
Smith's per-36 production in points, rebounding, assists and blocks are all down from last season, and his defensive rating is the highest it's been since his second year in the NBA. He is shooting just 23 percent on three-pointers but still manages to average 3.5 shots per game from beyond the arc, a career high.
Moving Smith now appears to be the only thing that could save Dumars' seat in the Pistons front office. Getting rid of him might prove to be difficult, as few franchises seek an inefficient 28-year-old shooter with such a hefty salary. Detroit may fail to find a taker for Smith until the 2014 NBA Draft, when the Pistons will find out whether they will owe their top-8-protected first round selection to the Charlotte Bobcats.
The pick was part of the 2012 trade that brought Corey Maggette to Detroit in exchange for Ben Gordon. Detroit used the remaining cap space from that deal to sign Smith. If the Pistons manages to retain the pick, they could use it as trade bait to then get rid of the embattled forward.
If Dumars can't move Smith, the question then turns to Greg Monroe, who will be a restricted free agent in the offseason. Monroe's representatives reportedly sought a maximum contract extension coming into the year, and that could put the onus on Detroit to move him. Without significant return, however, it would be unlikely that the Pistons trade Monroe before season's end.