With the Dwight Howard domino fallen, the decisions of the other major free agents are sure to come in swift.
Friday, as the Warriors were trying to clear cap room for a potential blockbuster, the Warriors reached an agreement with free agent forward Andre Iguodala, perhaps cementing the Warriors' place in the Western Conference's elite. Saturday, the Pistons got the other big-name forward in this year's free agency class.
And more than few head scratches in the process.
Forward Josh Smith agreed to a four-year, $54 million deal to join the Pistons in Detroit after playing the entire first nine seasons of his career with the Hawks. Smith averaged 17.5 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game last year while shooting 46.5 percent from the floor, 30.3 percent from beyond the arc and a career-worst 51.7 percent from the foul line.
With Smith, sometimes you get the super-talented, multi-faceted power forward who is a matchup nightmare with his athleticism or sometimes you get the mercurial passive, jump-shooting Smith that seems to be the bane every coach's existence. It is unclear which Josh Smith the Pistons will get on a deal that will pay him north of $12 million per year.
The immediate question with signing Smith is what does this mean for the future of young big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond? Both of them have shown plenty of promise and seem perfectly capable of complementing each other at the power forward and center positions. Both are versatile and athletic with tons of ability to continue improving.
Smith seems to throw a wrench in that. He needs to play power forward because his struggles from beyond the arc throughout his career make playing him at small forward for extended periods of time a dicey proposition. Particularly if the Pistons want to develop those two post players.
Maurice Cheeks will have his hands full balancing that front court.
The Pistons though needed something. Smith has been on the cusp of reaching his first All Star Game for several years now and will make an immediate impact in the win column for the Pistons. Brandon Knight is still a young player coming into his own at shooting guard and the Pistons still have to sort out that back court first.
Joe Dumars though appears to have swung for the fences again in free agency. The last time he did that, he split a max spot between Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. That plan did not work so well as the Pistons have missed the Playoffs the last three seasons and have fallen far from their Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2008, the last of a six-year run to the NBA's final four.
This move gets them an inch closer, but it does not feel like much. Detroit's future is tied now to Smith.
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