Trade Idea: Joe Johnson for Josh Smith + Rodney Stuckey

This Josh Smith guy...

Josh Smith has been mentioned in posts quite often around here.
We were thinking about acquiring him at last season's trade deadline, and his name keeps popping up this year also.

Obviously the reason why his name keeps coming up is that he usually is on the trading block.

He just signed a 54 million 4 year deal with the Pistons, but he doesn't seem to fit next to Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, where he is asked to play SF and provide floor spacing.
He is also an athletic player, who likes to run, and is a pretty good defender against players like LeBron, Melo, Durant, or Paul George, especially when those teams are going small, and pushing these players to the PF position.

Who should we give up for him?

I've seen trade ideas where we are giving up Paul Pierce's expiring or even Brook Lopez for him, but I don't like those ideas. I think that's too much to give up for him right now.

I really trust in Brook that he will come back strong next season, and have a long, healthy career.
I also don't think trading Pierce would be fair to KG, who waived his no trade clause to join Pierce in Brooklyn. I don't want to give up on what these two guys brought to this franchise.

On the other hand, I'd be certainly willing to part with Joe Johnson for Smith:
Smith is owed 40.5 million over the next 3 seasons,
Joe is still owed more than 48 mill over the next two. (more money but one less year)

Joe Jesus...

He has been playing well this year. You can make an argument that JJ has been the best Net this season. He leads the team in scoring, and he just made the All-Star team for the 7th time in his career.

On the other hand Joe just doesn't like to run. You can never see him on the fast break, and even on his iso plays he seems to be moving in slow motion. I think JJ is the biggest reason why the team can not play fastbreak basketball, something that Kidd and Deron would like to do.
He is a solid perimeter defender, but this season, quick and athletic SGs have started to cause problems for him (especially with our bigs not being very good at defending the pick and roll - except for KG of course).

First we had to move Joe to SF, forcing Pierce to the bench, and later to PF.

Why for Detroit?

I went over to their blog at, to ask what those guys think about this trade, and they were all positive about it:
Detroit is building around their twin towers, Drummond and Monroe. They want to give a max extension to Monroe this summer, and they will have to offer big money to Drummond 2 years later.
JJ comes off the books exactly when they will need money for Drummond, while J-Smoove's contract is one year longer, which can cause problems for Detroit.

They need a SF that can stretch the floor for them and provide solid perimeter D, something that Smith has not been able to give them.

Pistons fans think JJ could be a perfect fit next to their 2 bigs.


We would also recieve Rodney Stuckey's expiring contract to match the salaries, but Stuckey could actually be a nice piece for us.

His 8.5 million expiring contract could be combined with rights to Bogdanovic to bring in someone like Lowry or Afflalo, but he is a nice player himself:

He is a strong 6'5 shooting guard, who can also play some pointguard. He has nice dribbling skills and he is very good at getting to the basket. He may not be much of an outside shooter, but is still an upgrade over Livingston in that regard.

Our roster after the trade:

PG – Deron / SDot / Teague
SG – Stuckey / AA / Terry
SF – Pierce / AK /
PF – Smith / Tele / Evans
C – KG / Blatche / Plumlee

This looks like an athletic, running team, with much improved rebounding compared to the current roster.
The only downside is losing JJ's 2 made threes per game on 39% shooting, but we would still have Deron, Pierce, Terry and Tele as great outside shooters, while AA and Stuckey are not very bad either.

Next year...

I think this trade certainly improves us for this season, but I also like it for the future.

We can say that KG at PF next to Brook at C did not work at start of this season. KG looks like a center at this stage of his career, especially with many teams going small with undersized quick and athletic PFs.

Josh Smith is a good fit next to Brook too. He is a great rebounder at PF, and he has the speed to defend the small PFs, while he also has the size to take on the big ones like Monroe, Boozer and West.

Smith could be a good solution for us at PF for the next couple of seasons.


Another important aspect of this trade idea related to the 2016 free agency, when we will be targeting Kevin Durant: Josh Smith's contract is still on the books in 2016-17 for 13.5 million.

Right now we only have Deron on the books for that year for 22.3 mill, so Smith takes us up to 36 mill guaranteed that year. Of course that's still way below the salary cap, but that 13.5 million obviously makes it harder for us to preserve space for a max contract.
We have to make sure that we are not signing anyone else to a contract that cuts into 2016 capspace in the meantime.

Instead of signing Durant outright in 2016, we could also sign and trade for him, and act as an over the cap team. (That would put us under a hard cap for that season at the Apron, but that's still much better than being capped as an under the cap team.)

To be able to take on a S&T-ed Durant, we would need to be able to match his new contract:
For that we could sign Pierce and Stuckey this summer to 2 year deals with fully unguaranteed 3rd years in 2016-17. If we would have that kind of assets, it might be possible to convince OKC to help us out with the S&T by adding a future second round pick, or something like that to Pierce + Stuckey (who could be waived).

Acting as an over the cap team and taking Durant in a S&T instead of signing him outright would let us hold onto our Bird-rights to Brook Lopez and the rest of our free agents, and resign them too (under the Apron).

This way we could go into the 2016-17 season with a core of D-Will, Durant, Smith and Lopez.

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