“The conversation comes up,” Smith said prior to Detroit’s 118-111 loss against the Celtics on March 9, per The Boston Globe’s Baxter Holmes. “We always tell each other how surreal a moment that would be for us to be able to reconnect again in that realm.”
Rondo and Smith previously suited up for the same team at Oak Hill Academy—a high school basketball powerhouse in Virginia—where they went 38-0 in one season, per Holmes.
“It can be far-fetched, but it could be possible too, at the same time,” Smith added. “I’m always optimistic. I always think of different scenarios. It could happen, but who knows?”
Smith—who has never been named an All-Star during his 10-year NBA career—signed a four-year, $54 million deal with the Pistons last summer. That signing, along with the addition of trigger-happy point guard Brandon Jennings, hasn’t paid off in Motown.
Following the loss at Boston, Detroit has slipped to 24-39 overall. The Pistons are three games behind the eighth-place Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference, have lost three straight and are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.
“Josh was the No. 1 guy we went after in free agency,” Pistons general manager Joe Dumars said last summer, per ESPN. “The primary reason for Josh being the No. 1 guy was because of his versatility. He’s a 6-9 athletic forward who can play both positions and at both ends of the floor.”
Despite praising Smith at the time of his signing, Detroit is reportedly open to trading the 28-year-old if a deal presents itself, per ESPN Insider Chris Broussard (subscription required).
Is it possible that the talented forward could be dealt to Boston to play beside his former high school roommate?
Dan Feldman of NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk wrote the following of that scenario: "If they were to join forces in Boston, how about Smith for Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace this summer? Then, the Pistons should have the cap room to make that deal, accepting Wallace’s toxic contract as a tax for upgrading—in age, fit and contract status—from Smith to Green."
It won’t be easy to get out from under Smith’s contract because the veteran is posting some of the worst numbers of his pro career. He’s shooting a career-low 41.7 percent from the field and jacking up a career-high 3.3 three-point attempts per game despite shooting a woeful 23.8 percent from long distance.
There's an outside chance that Rondo could be sent to Detroit, but Smith hasn’t embraced his strengths in that organization. As a result, it may be best for both parties to part ways.
The Pistons forward still has plenty of talent, but playing next to a savvy champion might be precisely what he needs to rejuvenate his career and remember what made him a borderline All-Star with the Atlanta Hawks.
Any potential swap would have to wait until the 2014 offseason, but it will be interesting to see if these two teams engage in trade talks moving forward. If nothing else, seeing Rondo and Smith on the same team again would be an entertaining spectacle.