NBA Free Agency: Josh Smith signs with Pistons

By Connor Paden

May 1, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) takes a shot against the Indiana Pacers in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith has signed a four-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, worth $56 million.

The 6’9” forward is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s most unique and athletic talents at the power forward position. Smith averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists for the Atlanta Hawks last season.

Re-signing with the Hawks was always an option for Smith but the Pistons pursued him the hardest. Atlanta had been hopeful of at least working a sign-and-trade agreement with Smith, but the Pistons had enough salary cap space for him in the end.

The Pistons already have a promising young front court with the likes of Greg Monroe from Georgetown and Andre Drummond from UConn. Smith will bring the experience to help develop these players.

Smith was widely considered a secondary option to Dwight Howard. Once Howard made his decision to sign with the Houston Rockets, many teams had hoped they would have a chance of signing Smith but The Pistons made it clear that he was the franchise’s top priority.

Monroe led the Pistons last season averaging 16 points and 9.6 rebounds while point guard Jose Calderon led the team with 6.6 assists, however Calderon recently signed a deal with the Dallas Mavericks for four-years and $29 million.