Even though it was the worst kept secret in the world that the Detroit Pistons were trying to trade Josh Smith, no one expected the team to outright release him — including his teammates. Greg Monroe described the team's stunned reaction upon learning the news prior to Monday's practice.
"Nobody knew about this, as far as players," Monroe said, according to MLive. "Everyone walked to the locker room with the same face, the same thoughts like we didn't know that was about to happen. It's definitely something that's surprising to everyone."
Stan Van Gundy knew the move would come as a shock, which is part of the reason why he choose to pull the trigger when the team had four days between games to adjust, both mentally and on the practice court.
"It had to do with a break in the schedule, yes, where you get a little time to adjust, where you figure the news will be a little bit a shock and you give guys a chance to adjust to it and the whole thing."
When asked how the news was delivered, Van Gundy said he did it with a face-to-face meeting, citing his "great respect for what [Smith's] done in the league" as a reason why he didn't attempt to save money by negotiating a buyout.
"I would never do something like that over the phone," Van Gundy said. "He came in this morning and we sat down and talked. Look, I think — I hope – but I think Josh would say the same thing. He and I have spent a lot of time talking since the time I got the job and I think we've been very honest with each other and he's been the same way for me.
"And we were just straight up, and I basically told him exactly what was in the release, it's the exact same message. He understood, and I think he appreciated the way the situation was handled. Now, I shouldn't say that because he would have to comment, but it was straight up.
"We didn't mess around with him, we didn't make him bide time and try to fight him over a buyout or anything like that. I truly have great respect for what he's done in the league over 10 years and everything else, and we weren't going to mess around with him at all. I thought it was best for him, I thought it was best for us. He handled it in a straight up manner, he handled it very professionally and I sincerely wish him the best. I hope he finds a great situation."