JULY 10TH, 12:11pm: The Pistons have officially signed Smith, the team announced today (Twitter link).
JULY 6TH, 3:47pm: Smith's deal includes $54MM in base salary, but the value could rise to $56MM if he reaches performance incentives, writes Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News.
2:54pm: No sign-and-trade is planned at the moment between the Pistons and Hawks, so the Smith acquisition figures to be an outright signing, notes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Windhorst also says the Rockets never engaged in sign-and-trade discussions about Smith with the Hawks.
2:01pm: Josh Smith and the Pistons have agreed to terms on a four-year, $56MM deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Detroit lands perhaps the most enticing name on the free agent market now that Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are locked up, using its cap space to reel in the athletic forward. The Rockets appeared to be pursuing a sign-and-trade for Smith as recently as last night, but couldn't get any traction on a move that would have reunited Howard with his AAU teammate.
The deal falls short of the maximum contract Smith was looking for, and gives him just a slight bump from the $13.2MM he made last season with the Hawks. The Warriors and Hawks also had interest, and the Celtics reportedly were set to target Smith in the wake of having traded Paul Pierce, but no team pursued him with as much vigor as Detroit, as Wojnarowski writes. The Pistons met with the client of Wallace Prather and Brian Dyke in the first hours of free agency, and though an offer didn't come out of that encounter, it was clear the team regarded him as more than the "Plan B" he appeared to be for other suitors who were waiting to hear from Howard.
The Pistons also had their sights on Andre Iguodala, and would like to have re-signed Jose Calderon, but with both of them agreeing on deals with other teams, it looks like president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and company circled back to their No. 1 option. The team should still have close to $10MM in cap room to complement an impressive front line of Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
The 27-year-old Smith saw his numbers dip a bit from his career year in 2011/12, averaging 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists this past season. Though Smith is multitalented, the hole in his game is three-point shooting. He took more shots from behind the arc than ever in 2012/13, but he connected on just 30.3% of his 2.6 long-range attempts per game.