Feb 18, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons small forward Josh Smith (6) moves the ball defended by Charlotte Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) in the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Charlotte won 108-96. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith rumors: Charlotte Hornets in the mix?

Although they continue to say otherwise, the Detroit Pistons would like to trade forward Josh Smith. Smith is due $40.5 million over the next three seasons and if they could deal him, it would clear up room to re-sign restricted free agent Greg Monroe (who will reportedly be signing the Pistons’ qualifying offer) and give center Andre Drummond the mega-deal he will likely command in the next few years.

Travelers Today believes Smith could be a good fit for the Charlotte Hornets.

Still, the Hornets are far from becoming a major force in the East with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls reloading their lineup. Many analysts think the Hornets are a talented young team with an outstanding nucleus of Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Stephenson, but a piece away from joining the elites.

The 28-year old Smith could be the piece they have been looking for. Hornets defense was outstanding last year, ranking fourth in the league points allowed per game (97.1). That defense could be even bolstered with Stephenson’s perimeter defense. However, they would also need some shot-blocking presence. Smith could give it to them.

Smith has been such an up-and-down player with a penchant for the bad shot. However, for a team like the Hornets that likely won’t be able to lure true superstars to their team (although they’ve done a fantastic job signing big man Al Jefferson and guard Lance Stephenson in the last two offseasons), Smith and his monster deal could be worth the risk. To acquire Smith, the Hornets would probably have to part with several key assets, including forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the second-overall pick of the 2012 Draft.

Smith went 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals per game while shooting 41.9% from the field, 26.4% from three and 53.2% from the charity stripe last season.

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Tags: Charlotte Hornets Detroit Pistons Josh Smith NBA Rumors

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