Pistons waive Josh Smith in shocking move

The Detroit Pistons on Monday waived starting forward Josh Smith, who has two more years and $26 million still remaining on his contract.

A number of teams could have interest in Josh Smith. (USAT)
A number of teams could have interest in Josh Smith. (USAT)

The Pistons will use the stretch provision on the remaining $26 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The provision allows the Pistons to stretch the money owed to Smith over a longer period of time for salary cap relief.

Smith and first-year Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy often did not seen eye to eye this season. Smith was averaging 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season for the Pistons.

“Our team has not performed the way we had expected throughout the first third of the season and adjustments need to be made in terms of our focus and direction,” Van Gundy said via a statement. “We are shifting priorities to aggressively develop our younger players while also expanding the roles of other players in the current rotation to improve performance and build for our future. As we expand certain roles, others will be reduced. In fairness to Josh, being a highly versatile 10-year veteran in this league, we feel it’s best to give him his freedom to move forward. We have full respect for Josh as a player and a person.”

Smith should be a coveted unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers, as he’s expected to do, with a number of intriguing potential landing spots. The Kings nearly traded for Smith during the offseason and are interested in him now, a source said. Smith also is close friends with new Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo and Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard.

The Rockets, who were interested in Smith before he signed with Detroit as a free agent in 2013, again have interest in signing him, league sources told Wojnarowski. They can offer Smith their biannual exception, an advantage over most of Smith's other suitors, who are limited to giving him the veteran's minimum salary.

The Clippers have initial interest with Smith, but want to dig deeper before committing to attempting to sign him, a league source told Wojnarowski.

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