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The Detroit Pistons can’t trade Tayshaun Prince for Josh Smith

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press broached the idea of a Tayshaun Prince-for-Josh Smith swap in his article today:

The Hawks overpaid to keep Joe Johnson and could decide they can’t afford Josh Smith and Grand Ledge’s Al Horford. The Pistons asked about Smith in the summer of 2008, and Tayshaun Prince’s expiring deal could entice the Hawks to part with the 6-foot-9 guard/forward.

Since the Hawks turned down the trade in 2008, Smith’s value has risen and Prince’s has decreased. The trade is less likely today than it was then, and it was a no then.

In this year’s TrueHoop Network Awards, Smith had a wonderful showing:

  • Most Valuable Player (eighth)
  • Defensive Player of the Year (second)
  • Most Improved Player (fifth)
  • All-NBA third team
  • All-Defensive first team

That’s not the résumé of someone traded for Tayshaun Prince, who didn’t receive any votes in any category. (For more on why Smith had such a great season, read Bret Lagree of Hoopinion’s explanation how Smith stopped shooting 3-pointers, which allowed him to take advantage of his passing skills.:

The Hawks gave Joe Johnson that massive contract because they knew had to keep him to contend. If they didn’t keep him, there was little point in paying guys like Smith and Horford. Johnson’s contract doesn’t make those guys more likely to be traded in the short term. Rather, it makes the Hawks more likely to keep them.

In short, not happening.


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  • Jul 25, 20101:22 pm
    by Kris Haymon


    If the NBA has taught us anything over the course of the last handful of seasons, it’s this. Players are rarely traded for anything of substance. Expiring contracts are the most valuable thing in the league. While I highly doubt that the Hawks would trade Josh Smith (considering that they used he and Zaza Pachulia, to say which other team in the league, can boast a top 5 PF and C. to keep Joe Johnson), to rule the trade out, is largely faulty. If the Hawks struggle this season, I could see them wanting to move a contract like Smith’s, for a little cap relief, which Tayshaun would give you, with his expiring deal. Atlanta has never had to stomach a Max contract before, and if the team does not live up to expectations, the money they are paying out, could make Atlanta, a little more apt to trade their other substantial contract.
    The only way I say not a chance on this deal, is referring to this deal happening before the trade deadline. No way it happens this summer, there’s little to know reason Atlanta makes this deal, with out seeing the the current roster in action. Given the Hawks relative success the last 3 or so seasons, they have reason to feel optimistic, that the current roster, can remain so.

  • Jul 25, 20101:54 pm
    by nuetes


    Well I’d have to agree a straight swap of Prince for Smith has no chance of happening. I’m not sure why it would have ever had a chance of happening, if it did at some point. I don’t see why the Hawks would even think about trading Smith. They need to improve somehow, but I don’t think they can do that by giving up the guy I’d consider their best player. Maybe they don’t view him that way and maybe they get desperate, but even so there are better options out there than Prince. The thing about trading Rip or Prince is that there are 29 other teams out there, and one of those teams would have to actually view Rip or Prince as the best they can do in a trade. And Dumars isn’t giving either up for junk at this point.

  • Jul 25, 20107:04 pm
    by gmehl1977


    I know it probably didn’t seem like it but Prince’s numbers last season were actually a little above his career average!





  • Jul 25, 20107:23 pm
    by gmehl1977


    TAYSHAUN PRINCE ($11.2m – 1 year)
    09-10 season
    49, PPG: 13.5, RPG: 5.1, APG: 3.3, SPG: 0.7, BPG: 0.4
    583, PPG: 12.7, RPG: 4.7, APG: 2.7, SPG: 0.6, BPG: 0.6
    JOSH SMITH ($11.7m – 3 years)
    09-10 season
    81, PPG: 15.7, RPG: 8.7, APG: 4.2, SPG: 1.6, BPG: 2.1
    583, PPG: 14.3, RPG: 7.6, APG: 2.9, SPG: 1.2, BPG: 2.3

  • Jul 25, 20109:30 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    I agree with Dan’s take that it’s pretty silly to think that the Hawks would do a Prince-for-Smith swap. It was silly two years ago too.
    But I wouldn’t necessarily rule out Smith getting traded. The Hawks are at their peak right now, which is, at best, second round fodder for Boston/Orlando/Miami in the East. Johnson is aging and has played a ton of minutes over the last four years. I see them as a good bet to fall off and maybe even miss the playoffs, since teams like NJ and NY should be improved and playoff contenders. At some point, they might half to blow things up, and Smith is their best trade chip. If they ever did though, the best scenario for them would be shopping him with a bad contract — Johnson’s, Bibby’s or even Marvin Williams — to get immediate salary relief and future picks.
    Any other scenario wouldn’t make sense. Even bad teams don’t trade guys who are signed to below-market contracts simply to shed salary. Smith, like Rajon Rondo in Boston, is far out-playing what he’s signed for and Atlanta would be insane to just trade him in a salary dump unless they can get the other team to take a bad contract with him.

  • Jul 25, 201010:28 pm
    by gmehl1977


    I hate to spoil the party here but another reason this trade will never happen is that Josh Smith has a $7m trade-kicker that must be paid if he gets traded. Case closed!

  • Jul 25, 201011:09 pm
    by Pratik Narula


    What about the Chris Paul situation? Can the Pistons get involved with New Orleans or a three team deal with Orlando, since CP stated them as a team he wants to go to. N.O also stated that they would put E. Okafor in the deal as well. Can we land him?
    Orlando could use Rip/or Tay, and we could use E. Okafor/Jameer Nelson? What do you guys think? I read this idea on: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/424440-chris-paul-wants-to-go-to-orlando-how-detroit-could-get-involved
    seems very interesting and I believe that it would put the Pistons back onto the right track to compete in the East again. But is it possible?

  • Jul 25, 201011:34 pm
    by nuetes


    I don’t want Okafor. He’s already overpaid and signed for 4 more seasons with salary escalations. In other words – it just gets worse. I wouldn’t think about taking on a contract like that until after the new CBA is settled. If Okafor was an impact player I’d be fine, but he’s an adequate center, and that’s just not good enough for that kind of financial commitment. Seems like a lot of Pistons fans want Okafor though. I just can’t get on board with that.

  • Jul 26, 201012:04 am
    by gmehl1977


    Pratik Narula…i’d say from Detroit’s stand point it would be a great deal but if i was Joe Dumars i would be doing everything not to throw in a 1st round pick. I would rather give up two 2nd rounders. I think Orlando should be the one parting with more because they are the ones that get the big prize in the deal.
    Other than that, nice link and hopefully Joe can make it work!

  • Jul 26, 20102:30 am
    by gmehl1977


    This article i think is right on the money. Barring any moves Joe can make before training camp or the trade dead line. I am just as impatient as most pistons fans but rather than looking at who we haven’t got it is important to remember who we have got and what they need to do for us to move in the right direction. I especially like what was written about Villanueva.

  • Jul 27, 20109:41 am
    by kalorama


    I could certainly see Smith being traded, but trading him for cap room (which, at this point, is what Prince is)  makes no sense, either in bball or financial terms, because along both dimensions it makes giving Johnson that huge contract look like a monumentally stupid move.  It would basically turn them back into a lottery team (or close to it) but still leave them beholden to pay Johnson like a superstar. Now, if they could trade Smith for a highly productive player or two with fewer issues and who fits more traditionally into a position/system, that would make sense. But Prince is the guy they’d want in that case.
    (I would also dispute Patrick’s contention that, at $12+ mil/yr, that Smith is somehow underpaid.)

  • Jul 27, 201010:21 am
    by gmehl1977


    kalorama i think what Patrick meant by being under paid was due to Smith’s resume:

    Most Valuable Player (eighth)
    Defensive Player of the Year (second)
    Most Improved Player (fifth)
    All-NBA third team
    All-Defensive first team

    You can’t argue with the facts…Smith is a gun player and while i don’t think he is under paid there is guys out there that earn more per year than he does with a much smaller resume.

  • Jul 27, 201011:18 am
    by Patrick Hayes


    He’s underpaid by NBA standards, not reality standards. Compare his production to guys who make significantly more and he’s underpaid. I mean, would you rather have J Smoove at $12ish a year or Rashard Lewis at $20 million? Elton Brand at $16 million? Antawn Jamison at $13.5? K-Mart at $16? Iguodala at $13.5? David Lee at $14ish? Smith’s contract has become very reasonable at the rate he produces. If he would’ve been a free agent this year, he would’ve commanded at or near max money. Atlanta got a deal, much the way Boston did by locking up Rondo just in time.

  • Jul 27, 201011:43 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Kris, I think you prove why this trade won’t happen. It’d be nearly impossible for the Hawks to be so bad they give up on their plan this season. And once the trade deadline passes, Prince can’t be traded. Sure, they might trade Josh Smith for less than he’s worth at some point, but it until after Prince is no longer tradeable.

  • Jul 27, 201011:46 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Nuetes, I think the trade was semi-reasonable at one point. Prince was a better defender than he is now, and Smith was a bit of a headcase who took too many bad shots.

  • Jul 27, 201011:48 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Patrick, I don’t think any player is untradeable. But I think the Hawks better get a lot more than getting another team to take a bad contract before they trade Josh Smith. He’s the best player on that team and still young. I’d want a lot of talent in return, too.

  • Jul 27, 201011:49 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Gmehl, good point on the trade kicker. Although, the trade would be such a good deal for the Pistons, and I think they’d still be below the luxury tax. I wouldn’t consider it a deal breaker.

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