Should the Sacramento Kings trade for Josh Smith?

Josh Smith and DeMarcus Cousins await free throws. (Photo: Steven Chea)

The Sacramento Kings are in the market for an athletic, shot-blocking big man to play next to DeMarcus Cousins.  Could Josh Smith be that guy?

Earlier today,’s Marc Stein reported that the Kings and Detroit Pistons have discussed a deal that would bring the 28-year-old forward to the capital city.  To acquire Smith, the Kings would give up a combination of Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams or Jason Terry.  The eighth overall pick would not be included in a deal, leaving the Kings with an important asset to pitch in other trade scenarios.

Smith had a down year in his first season as a member of the Pistons.  The 10-year-veteran out of  Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy averaged 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.  His shooting percentages dropped dramatically in the motor city as well.  His field-goal percentage (41.9 percent) and true-shooting percentage (46.3 percent) were both career lows.

Smith’s poor play last season came on the heels of signing a $54-million contract with the Pistons last offseason.  Including next season, he is on the books through 2016-17 and makes $13.5 million annually, per’s salary database.  In contrast, Jason Terry and Derrick Williams are both expiring deals, worth approximately $12.2-million combined this upcoming season.  Jason Thompson, meanwhile, is also on the books until the 2016-17 season like Smith.  He makes $6 million next year, $6.4 million the following year, but only $2.7 of his $6.8-million salary is guaranteed for the 2016-17 season.

Adding Smith would be another low-risk/potentially high-reward move for the Kings, following suit with the Rudy Gay trade.  The Kings dealt four role players in Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes to snag a player with All-Star talent.  Gay went on to improve his play with the Kings ,where he averaged 20.1 points, 3.1 assists, 5.5 rebounds and shot 48.2 percent from the field in 55 games.

It’s no secret that the Kings need to improve defensively and Smith could make an immediate impact on that side of the floor.  For his career, the 28-year-old forward has averaged 2.1 blocks per game and he would provide Sacramento with a much-needed rim protector for their frontline.  However, would his strengths on the defensive end make dealing for him worth it knowing some of his other quirks?  Smith has a reputation for having poor shot-selection, which is evident in his shooting percentages.  He also had clashes in the past with coaches like Mike Woodson, Larry Drew and most recently Maurice Cheeks.

Landing Smith, however, could also be the precursor to another major deal.  The Kings could make a run at Rajon Rondo, who they were rumored to have made overtures for in the past.  Last month, salary cap guru Larry Coon told the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast the Kings tried to make a move for Rondo, but couldn’t get assurance that the 28-year-old point guard would come to Sacramento with an open mind.  Rondo has a close relationship with Smith as both men played prep school basketball together at Oak Hill.  Would landing Smith be enough to convince Rondo to give the Kings a chance if they tried to acquire the four-time All-Star via trade?

It is clear the Kings are not content with standing pat for Thursday’s draft.  If this deal can happen, what should they do?  Weigh in on the poll listed below.

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Jonathan Santiago
Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.

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