In a surprising move, the Pistons released Josh Smith Monday.
The former Hawk will go through waivers and would become a free agent if he is unclaimed in 48 hours. Smith has two years remaining on the four-year, $54 million contract he signed with Detroit during 2013 free agency.
“Our team has not performed the way we had expected throughout the first third of the season and adjustments need to be made in terms of our focus and direction,” Pistons coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy said in a statement. “We are shifting priorities to aggressively develop our younger players while also expanding the roles of other players in the current rotation to improve performance and build for our future. As we expand certain roles, others will be reduced.
“In fairness to Josh, being a highly versatile 10-year veteran in this league, we feel it’s best to give him his freedom to move forward. We have full respect for Josh as a player and a person.”
Smith, 29, averaged 13.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists with the 5-23 Pistons in 28 starts this season. He has career averages of 15.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals.
Smith, a native of College Park, played nine seasons for his hometown Hawks after being drafted in the first round (No. 17 overall) in the 2004 NBA Draft. He ranks in the Top 10 in many franchise statistical categories including games played, points, rebounds and blocks.
What do you think? Should the Hawks bring him back?