The holidays are fast approaching, and it seems as if the Pistons' four-year, $53 million signing of Josh Smith was a preemptive lump of coal in their stockings. But with 18 days left until Christmas, Detroit Bad Boys would like to celebrate with day 2 of the Trade Josh Smith Advent Calendar.
Today's trade features the Houston Rockets
Why the Rockets do it
The Rockets have announced that they intend to trade disgruntled center Omer Asik between Dec. 15 and Dec. 19. This is a short, but key window. Dec. 15 is the first day that players who signed contracts in the offseason can be traded (including Josh Smith). Dec. 19 is the last day an incoming player can go to a new team and still qualify to be traded at this year's NBA trade deadline.
The reasons the Rockets are focused on Dec. 19 is that they want to use this trade to gather trade assets in order to make a later trade to make a serious playoff push in the Western Conference. Trading for Josh Smith essentially negates the second step. There were reports Houston was interested in adding Smith in the offseason, and trading Asik for Smith allows the team to have a power forward that can complement Dwight Howard.
Why the Pistons do it
Detroit would essentially swap places with the Rockets on this one. They would be receiving Asik with an eye toward trading him at the NBA trade deadline. It's certainly not an easy sell for Detroit. Not starting Asik in the meantime would mean Asik would be a disgrunted presence in the locker room. And trading an ineffective big-three lineup for a big-three featuring a distraction would be a step backward.
The Pistons could, however, do something radical like bring Andre Drummond or Greg Monroe off the bench between now and the trade deadline. Drummond would seem the more likely of the pair to come off the bench. The advantage of having Drummond come off the bench is that his replacement, Omer Asik, is one of the top paint defenders in the NBA.
And Drummond could continue to get big minutes in a three-big rotation, much like if Smith was brought off the bench. Also, Drummond is such an insane athlete that although he is obviously a center in the NBA, he could effectively play power forward along Asik for stretches at a time.
Because Asik's contract is shorter than Smith's, he'd probably also be easier to trade for draft picks or another young asset at the trade deadline. There would be no sense of needing to take on a big multi-year salary in return. A contender, or would-be contender who will be capped out anyway, could send expiring deals and draft picks to Detroit.