Hawks will not offer Josh Smith max contract, exploring trade options
Josh Smith is having yet another well-balanced, 'Josh Smith-esque' type season for the 27-22 Hawks, putting up 16.9 points, 8.5 boards, 4.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals a game, the only player in the NBA averaging 16/8/4/2/1. However, the Hawks are not impressed. Well, not impressed enough to offer Smith, an unrestricted free agent this summer, a maximum contract to stay in the A-T-L. From Real GM.
The Atlanta Hawks met with Josh Smith's representatives this week and indicated that they are not willing to give the forward a max contract after this season, according to a league source.
The Hawks, in turn, are entertaining trade offers for Smith around the NBA but haven't decided whether they will deal him.
Smith, averaging almost 17 points and nine rebounds this season, is prepared to move on from the Hawks.
Makes sense that the Hawks are entertaining offers for Smith, as they would be foolish to lose the 27 year old for nothing. And it makes sense for Smith to be ready to part with Atlanta, after all, if they won't give him max money, why on Earth would he return to an average team destined to remain in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the foreseeable future?
So now the question becomes, who makes a move for Smith? For those holding out hope of Smith being on the receiving end of Rajon Rondo alley-oops come next season, keep dreaming. Unless Danny Ferry temporarily loses brain function, the Celtics just do not match up with Atlanta. Sure they could offer Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger, but to make the money work (Smith makes $13.2 million), they'd have to convince Ferry to take one of either Brandon Bass or Jeff Green, and that's not going to happen.
So what other teams could be looking to add Smith? How about the Nuggets? They were reportedly looking at Kevin Garnett last week, and Smith is a similar (I use that word loosely) player to KG. A dynamic defensive player who runs like a young KG, and shoots a hell of a lot worse than Garnett ever has, or ever will. Denver also has a plethora of young big men and wing players on reasonable contracts to offer Atlanta, something the Celts really don't have. Other potential landings spots: the Lakers (Dwight Howard for Smith and filler, Howard returns home), the Clippers (much like Denver, any team linked to KG would have to give Atlanta a call), and Houston (tons of young pieces and the run-and-gun style that Smith was born to play in).
One benefit to the Celtics if Smith is dealt out West? Playoff positioning. If the C's are truly going all-in with this current team and looking to make a run, the #1 goal from here on out is to avoid Miami as long as possible come playoff time. Considering Atlanta is just a game ahead of Boston, this would help.
So let's hope Smith packs his bags and heads out West, or that Danny Ferry briefly loses all cognitive function and deals him to the Celtics for a deal based around Bass.
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