Hoping to end their eight-year playoff drought and find some athletic wings to pair with star center DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings have reportedly entered in trade discussions with the Detroit Pistons for Josh Smith.
The Kings and Pistons have been in contact since last month regarding a deal for Smith, ESPN reported, but they might be in need of a third team to consummate any deal.
At first the Kings offered a package of Jason Thompson and either Derrick Williams or Jason Terry in exchange for Smith, but that deal was put on the backburner when free agency began on July 1.
The 28-year-old Smith is one year removed from signing a four-year, $54 million with Detroit. Smith averaged 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks in his first season with the Pistons, but he struggled playing alongside rookie center Andre Drummond and he’s now Detroit’s best trade chip.
Sacramento is looking for better defensive players for a squad that ranked 24th in the league in points allowed per game, and Smith has long been one of the best defenders in the league capable of shutting down forwards and most guards.
Longing for a point guard to make the most of their considerable offensive weapons in Cousins and swingman Rudy Gay, the Kings are also hoping Smith’s presence might be enough to convince his close friend, former prep school teammate and Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo they will be contenders shortly.
The Kings were 30th in the league in assists per game last year, and Rondo has been tied to numerous trades over the last few years with the Celtics in rebuilding mode. But Rondo will also be a free agent in 2015, and no team is likely to trade valuable assets for him unless he agrees to a contract extension.
The same report indicated that the Pistons attempted a sign-and-trade deal with the Portland Trailblazers for restricted free agent forward Greg Monroe, but Portland took themselves out of the running for Monroe once they signed Chris Kaman.
Wolves Owner on Love Trade
If he had his way, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said he would keep All-Star power forward Kevin Love and make a run for the playoffs next season.
Speaking to NBA TV during the Wolves summer league game Wednesday in Las Vegas, Taylor said he wants Minnesota to make the playoffs just as badly as the 25-year-old star.
"My preference is that Kevin will come to (training) camp -- and I'm sure he will -- and play with the team," Taylor said according to the St. Paul Pioneer-Press
But Taylor also said that the Wolves expect plenty in return for Love should any trade take place.
"My response is that we are going to look at everything that makes sense that would make our team better," Taylor said, "but we are not going to move a superb player like that without getting equal or more value back."
Love has been linked to trades with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Wolves and Warriors re-opened discussions, but Golden State remains skittish on including smooth-shooting guard Klay Thompson in any trade.
The Cavaliers are looking to load up their roster for an title run next season with LeBron James making his return to the team, but they too are reportedly unwilling to part with prized asset and recent No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins even if it does bring Love to Cleveland.
All reports have indicated that the Wolves are insisting on Wiggins be part of the trade. But the former Kansas star could one day replace James as the face of the franchise and the Cavs evidently told Wiggins he wasn’t going to be moved.