Josh Smith is still on the Detroit Pistons’ payroll.
Near the end of Detroit Pistons legend Joe Dumars’ tenure as GM in 2013, he made one last desperate swing for the fences by acquiring Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks. While Smith was coming off of a season in which he averaged 17.5 points per game, the Pistons formed a lineup of three complete non-shooters with him, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond on the floor at the same time.
The Pistons, who immediately went into the dumpster, are still feeling the pain from Smith’s $54 million deal. The 2019-20 season was the final season in which Smith, who didn’t even last two seasons with the Pistons was on Detroit’s payroll, and he accounted for over $5 million in dead cap space.
Josh Smith saw his career nosedive after joining the Pistons
Smith made his name for nine years with the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 15.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while serving as both a bigger wing and smaller paint presence on Mike Woodson’s squad. Smith’s inability to shoot and create his own shot doomed him in Detroit, as he shot just 41 percent before they sent him to Houston in the middle of the 2014-15 season.
Smith’s career ended with a whimper, as he bounced around China and the New Orleans Pelicans before getting ejected in a Big 3 game, ending his career in one of the most embarrassing ways in recent memory. Since then, there has been very little to write home about in Detroit.
Smith was one of the better power forwards in the league in his prime, and he would’ve been perfect as a small-ball 4 or 5 in the modern NBA. However, despite all of his success in Atlanta, a younger generation of fans will remember him as one of the worst free-agent signings in history.