Five or six teams are expected to go after Hawks free agent forward Josh Smith, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, and one of them will be the Pistons, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Detroit will have plenty of cap room for the maximum-salary offer Smith and agent Wallace Prather are likely to seek.
The Celtics are also reportedly high on Smith, and teams that miss out on Dwight Howard could be in the mix as well. It's unclear how much of a priority retaining Smith will be for the Hawks, but Atlanta can give him the best financial offer. The maximum starting salary for Smith, a nine-year veteran, will be 30% of the salary cap, or approximately $19.5MM, but the Hawks can give him a five-year deal instead of the four years other teams can offer. They can also give him 7.5% raises each season, as opposed to the 4.5% raises he'd get from the Pistons and everyone else.
Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said he's targeting help at point guard and the wing, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press notes, so the team would seem to envision Smith as a small forward rather than a power forward.
The Pistons made one decision affecting their cap space Saturday, keeping Viacheslav Kravtsov for $1.5MM for next season rather than waiving him while his $500K partial guarantee was still in effect. Rodney Stuckey's contract is only guaranteed for $4MM if he's waived today, but the Pistons plan to keep him, according to MLive's David Mayo. Detroit also plans to renounce its cap holds on all of its free agents, including Jose Calderon, whom the team is unlikely to pay more than $7MM annually to re-sign, Mayo writes.