AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - NBA free agency officially opens at 12:01 a.m. Monday, and when it does, the Detroit Pistons may be ready to pursue a prominent target.
There are an expected six suitors prepared to woo free-agent forward Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks, and according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Pistons are among them.
Smith, who averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.2 assist per game for the Hawks last season, is reportedly searching for a max deal this offseason and the Pistons have over $20 million in cap space at their disposal.
Other teams in pursuit of Smith include the Hawks and Houston Rockets who would both would like to pair him with free agent Dwight Howard.
Standing at 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, Smith plays both small and power forward and could compliment Detroit's young front court of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. In 2009, Pistons GM Joe Dumars spent millions in free agency on Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, which financially hindered the Pistons from participating in some of the best NBA free agency periods since then.
The Pistons current rebuilding continued Thursday when Detroit drafted shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope from Georgia. The Pistons are hoping shooters like Pope will create more opportunities for their promising front court duo in the post.
According to multiple reports, Detroit is also looking at free agent guards J.R Smith and Andre Iguodala, and hasn't ruled out going after Clippers free agent point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Deals aren't considered official until July 10 but negotiating with free agents will be permissible once free agency begins.