Monday, December 22, 2014

Pistons waive Josh Smith

Mark this as a watershed moment for the franchise. The Pistons have waived much-maligned forward Josh Smith. Citing the team's performance, Stan Van Gundy has made the boldest move this franchise has seen since the Chauncey Billups trade. What this means is that Smith, given that he clears waivers in two days (he will), will be a free agent that can sign with any team. Smith had two years and $26 million left on his contract following this season, which will stay on the Pistons' payroll and salary.

SVG had done a lot to center the offense on Smith's passing abilities, moves that made him more effective than at any other time as a Piston. But obvious chemistry issues and his poor performance made even those schematic changes worthless. This signals a possible change in Monroe-SVG relations, which could have a significant impact this offseason. For now, the Pistons are woefully short on power forwards, with Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, and Tony Mitchell the only other PFs on the roster.

Player rotations will be important, but the most intriguing aspect of this move will be seeing how the players react. I've long held that the team doesn't look like they enjoy playing basketball. It's entirely possible that Smith was dragging team morale down. Look for energy levels in the coming games. That will tell us a lot about where this team was and where it can go from here.

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