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Report: Josh Smith agrees to four year, $56 million deal with Pistons

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Apparently the slow building process with one of the better young front lines in the NBA wasn’t g0ing fast enough for the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons have reached out for the biggest name free agent left on the board and have agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with Josh Smith, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. It’s not a surprise, the Pistons were in early with a hard push to get Smith, and that is the large contract he wanted. Atlanta never really made any effort to bring Smith back.

Smith, 27, averaged an impressive  17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals a game last season. Yet with Detroit this is an odd fit.

Smith is best suited at the four — he shot 72 percent in the restricted area last season and a weak 31 percent everywhere else — but the Pistons already have a promising front line of Greg Monroe at the four and Andre Drummond at the five. This means either Monroe comes off the bench or, more likely, Smith will play the three. Except that will just destroy the team spacing because no team needs to respect Smith or Monroe or Drummond outside five feet. This gives Smith more of a green light to take midrange jumpers and threes that he just does not hit enough of.

However, this should make the Pistons a better defensive and rebounding team — that is a big front line that will protect the paint. Smith is also fantastic on offense in transition if the Pistons decide to run (they were bottom 10 in the league in pace last season).

This move has Joe Dumars written all over it. The Pistons got more talented, but the fit and high cost make this a questionable move.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.

PBT Podcast: NBA All-Star Weekend talk, predictions with Sean Highkin

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NBA All-Star weekend descends upon frigid Toronto starting Friday, with everything from the Rookie/Sophomore… er, Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, the Dunk Contest/Three-Point Contest on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday.

Kurt Helin and Sean Highkin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk break it all down, from Pau Gasol replacing Jimmy Butler to predictions on the Dunk Contest and if anyone can knock off Zach LaVine. Plus, there is plenty of “why Sting?” talk.

PBT will be in Toronto with reports from the event all weekend, so come back early and often for all the latest (plus trade talk, as all the GMs get together in one city where it’s too cold for them to go outside).

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Pistons retire Chauncey Billups’ jersey at halftime (VIDEO)

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Moments before his jersey went up to the rafters, Chauncey Billups spoke to the crowd about the night the Detroit Pistons wrapped up the 2004 NBA title by routing the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the Finals.

“We had one motivation,” he said. “We wanted to win it here at home.”

Billups was the most valuable player in the Finals that year, and he had his No. 1 jersey retired by the Pistons on Wednesday night at halftime of their game against Denver.

He was the second player from that 2004 team honored by the Pistons this year. The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s jersey last month at a similar ceremony – in front of a packed house on a night Detroit beat Golden State.

There were some empty seats in the upper level Wednesday, but Billups wanted to be honored while the Pistons were playing the Nuggets. Billups is a Denver native and played for the Nuggets for two stints during his career.

“This was by design, only because there’s a lot of people that contributed to my success as a player and as a man, in Denver, my hometown,” Billups said before the game. “There were several dates that I could have chosen. This one obviously stuck out.”

Billups does have a mild regret about his run of success with the Pistons. He figures they could have won more titles.

“I felt like, two and maybe three championships – we were that good,” he said.

Ben Wallace was on hand Wednesday, and so were Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince from the 2004 champions. Pistons great Isiah Thomas was also at the Palace for the ceremony.

“This is what tradition looks like,” Thomas told the crowd. “This is what it feels like.”