Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press confirmed that the trade talks between the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons seem to be a one-sided affair at this point. The Kings clearly want Josh Smith, but the Pistons aren't interested in what Sacramento can offer:
The Sacramento Kings made another run at Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith during this week’s league meetings in Las Vegas, but they were rebuffed again.
A person with firsthand knowledge of the situation confirmed ESPN’s Marc Stein’s report that the Kings were interested in Smith. Another source said Thursday morning that there are "no legs" to the report — suggesting that nothing was imminent.
[...] The Kings believed that the Pistons would get rid of Smith without seeking valuable assets in return, but the Pistons have been adamant that that’s not the case, and they are prepared to bring him back for his second season in Detroit.
I included the "no legs" reference in Thursday's update, but when I originally published, the Free Press article didn't have Ellis' byline. (Instead, it was Anthony Fenech, who primarily covers the Tigers.) Now that it does (and has been re-written and supplemented with a bit more context), I'm giving it a bit more weight. So even though a Josh Smith trade is fun to think about, I'm taking Ellis' word that it's unlikely -- for now.
But things move fast in the summer -- last year at this time, Joe Dumars adamantly denied rumors the Pistons were inquiring about Brandon Jennings ... only to pull the trigger 15 days later. Maybe Dumars was telling the truth and talks started only after the initial rumor, or maybe he simply put on his best poker face while discussing an incomplete deal. We'll never know.
What we do know, though, is that the Kings are very interested in upgrading at the power forward position, and see Smith as a complement to a frontline that already includes Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. From Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:
The Kings’ quest to upgrade at power forward has led them back to talks with the Detroit Pistons about Josh Smith, league sources said, though a deal is not imminent.
The Kings have several power forwards, but they do not believe they have a starter they can build around and who will help them reach the playoffs.
Smith, 28, would be an improvement, the kind of athletic presence with shot-blocking ability Sacramento covets to play next to center DeMarcus Cousins.
But acquiring Smith won’t be easy, even if the Pistons would like to shed the $40.5 million owed to him over the next three seasons.
Maybe talks die yet again, maybe the mythical third team steps forward in the coming weeks, or maybe Stan Van Gundy truly believes the best option is to wait and allow Smith to rebuild his value playing in a more disciplined offense.
We'll just have to wait and see.