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.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.