Josh Smith says Pistons were only option
by Perry A. Farrell, USA TODAY Sports
At one point last week, Joe Dumars’ five-hour meeting with free agent Josh Smith came to an abrupt halt.
“He was trying to sell me on him, and I was trying to sell him on us,” Dumars, the Detroit Pistons’ president of basketball operations, said today.
“I said, ‘Hold on, you don’t have to sell me; we’re trying to sell you on us.’”
Obviously, both sides succeeded, as the veteran forward officially signed a four-year deal with the Pistons Wednesday. The contract is worth $54 million.
“This was my only option,” Smith said. “I didn’t have any other options. This is where I wanted to be. We’re definitely a playoff team, and we’re definitely a contender.”
The Pistons haven’t been close to the playoffs since they were swept by top-seeded Cleveland during Michael Curry’s only season as head coach in 2008-09. But Smith is familiar with the Pistons’ past.
“They’ve won championships here,” he said. “(Dumars) has had success as a player and as an executive. I’ve been in the second round of the playoffs three times.”
Dumars said that after realizing the team wouldn’t land free agents Dwight Howard nor Chris Paul, his No. 1 target was Smith.
He watched a ton of film and loved Smith’s versatility to play small forward and power forward at both ends of the floor.
“We looked at all of the free agents out there that could come in and help elevate us, elevate our talent level, elevate our ability to have chances to win games, and Josh was that guy for us,” Dumars said. “It’s a good day for us.”
Dumars likened the acquisition of Smith to that of landing Rasheed Wallace during the 2004 championship season.
“We have a lot of nice guys, but he has an edge,” Dumars said of Smith. “I think we need that. He definitely has an edge to him.”
And Smith needed a change of scenery from Atlanta, where he grew up and spent nine seasons with the Hawks.
The 6-foot-9 Smith averaged 15.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.1 blocked shots and 1.3 steals as a Hawk. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Smith is the only player … [For more on Josh Smith says Detroit Pistons were his only option, click here.]