UPDATE: The Detroit Pistons traded for Zhaire Smith with the intention of waiving and stretching the contract, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.
It’s unclear why the Pistons would stretch Smith’s deal instead of simply releasing him.
The Pistons are expected to waive and stretch recent acquisition Zhaire Smith following trade for Tony Bradley, sources say— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) November 23, 2020
The original story follows below.
The Detroit Pistons are trading from their immense stockpile of centers to take a flier on Zhaire Smith from the 76ers. The trade was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Pistons are sending Tony Bradley, who the team received in an earlier trade with the Utah Jazz.
The addition means another developmental prospect from a contending team after disappointing during their first few seasons in the league. GM Troy Weaver has already added Dzanan Musa (29th overall in 2018), Jahlil Okafor (3rd overall in 2015) and Josh Jackson (4th overall in 2017).
Smith has always been a target of intrigue for Pistons fans, and he seems to fit the Troy Weaver mold pretty perfectly. Smith is an uber-athletic guard with plenty of explosion but also with questions about whether he can put it all together to become a legitimate NBA player.
Smith suffered a significant injury to his foot and then had an allergic reaction to food. It caused him to miss most the season and significantly impacted his conditioning. Reports indicated his weight fell into the 160s instead of his usual 200 pound playing weight.
The move gives Detroit an additional young guard to potentially develop during its rebuilding process. The 21-year-old guard was drafted 16th overall in 2018. Shooting is a major question mark for Smith, and due to his age and injury troubles he hasn’t been able to establish himself as the perimeter defender many expected out of college.
Weaver has shown he isn’t afraid to add defensive-minded players with questionable offensive potential, however, and he loves athletes with long wingspans (the 6-foot-3 Smith has a reported 6-foot-10 wingspan).
Smith makes slightly less money than Bradley so this shouldn’t impact Detroit’s cap situation. Earlier reports indicated the Pistons had fallen below the cap enough that they were no longer expected to stretch veteran guard Rodney McGruder.
It’s unclear if the addition of Smith motivates them to simply release McGruder to open up an additional roster spot or if the plans are still to have him on the team.