Before the NBA draft, there was quite a lot of buzz that the Kings were looking to trade for Josh Smith, but those rumors never came to fruition. Both teams seemingly wanted to see what would happen in both the draft and free agency first. Now it appears they are ready to come back to the negotiating table.
ESPN's Marc Stein reports that trade talks between the two teams have heated up again, this time looking for a third team that could help facilitate. The initial talks centered around the Kings sending a combination of Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams and Jason Terry to Detroit, but that doesn't seem like it is enough to get something done despite the massive salary relief it would offer the Pistons.
So why are the Kings interested in Smith, coming off the worst year of his career and with 3 years and $40.5 million left on his contract? From ESPN:
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.
Another potential bonus is Smith's close relationship with Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, whom Sacramento has been targeting in trade talks for some time.
The part about the Kings not giving up any players in their long term plans is key. Smith's value is at an all-time low, and the Kings would be gambling that he'd play much better next to Cousins and Gay than he did with Monroe and Drummond. This is similar to their thinking in trading for Rudy Gay last season.
Ken Berger also stated last week that the Kings are scouring the market for a stretch four or shot-blocker to be next to DeMarcus Cousins. Smith isn't a true rim protector but he's a good shotblocker and defender. Unfortunately he also thinks he's a stretch four despite tons of evidence that he can't hit an outside shot with consistency.