Josh Smith’s Release Was Really About Greg Monroe


Yesterday the Detroit Pistons released Josh Smith.  It’s a bold move considering they had signed Smith just one year ago and still owed $27 million on his contract.  Was the move to make Greg Monroe more comfortable?

Van Gundy maintains that the move was about making room to develop the franchises younger players and did not stem from any incident between head coach and player. SVG also indicated that the move had been discussed for weeks and releasing Smith instead of trading him was the best possible scenario available to the Pistons.

That is the line that Van Gundy wants you to believe but the truth can be found in looking at who benefits from Smith’s release. The only players that will see increased playing time will be in the front court. The young players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Spencer Dinwiddie will not see any increased playing time as a result of the move because neither will log any minutes in the front court.

Jonas Jerebko will be the player that enjoys an increase in minutes without Smith on the roster. The 27-year-old forward is in his fifth and can no longer be considered a young player.

With the Detroit Pistons young players not in the position to benefit from the Smith move then there could be another reason the compelled the Pistons to release Josh Smith.

The move was likely made to accommodate Greg Monroe who never meshed with Smith and is playing out his one year qualifying offer from the Pistons after a failed attempt at restricted free agency.  Giving Greg Monroe a starting role could be an attempt to gain favor with the free agent to be in order to convince him to sign long-term.

Making Monroe a regular starter may not be enough to win him over. There has been bad blood that has been boiling between him and the Pistons organization after they signed Josh Smith last season.  Greg Monroe felt he was worthy of a max contract but when then General Manager Joe Dumars signed Josh Smith it made it impossible for the Pistons to offer Monroe an extension.

Hopefully Smith’s release can rebuild the trust Joe Dumars all but destroyed with Greg Monroe. The Pistons would have been better off signing Greg Monroe to an extension in the first place.  If they lose him without getting some value in trade.  It could prolong what promises to be a long and painful rebuilding process.

Next: Monore Wants Out Of Detroit