It is no secret the Atlanta Hawks are willing to listen to offers for forward Josh Smith and could very well move him before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline. Are the Milwaukee Bucks one of the teams that could land Smith before Thursday?
Smith, who has been with Atlanta for all eight and a half years of his career, is in the last year of his contract and could be dealt because the Hawks do not believe they can re-sign him this off-season. Obviously, this has to be a concern for any team that is willing to trade for Smith, especially Milwaukee. The Bucks have a hard time keeping talented players when they arrive with one or two years remaining on their deal and the only way the team will trade for him is if they know they can retain him after the conclusion of the season.
Why would Milwaukee even consider going after Smith? The 27-year-old is averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 46.0 percent from the floor and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc. Guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis both look to be leaving after this season, which means the Bucks should consider trading them anyways in order to get at least something in return.
I understand it does not make sense to switch an expiring contract with expiring contracts but Smith could legitimately make Milwaukee a much better team. He can make shots from anywhere on the court and he is also a threat around the basket.
The Boston Celtics appear to be the team that is likely to successfully trade for Smith but if the Bucks offer Ellis or Jennings plus Drew Gooden (salary dump) there is a good chance the team would be able to re-sign Smith at the end of the season. If worse comes to worse Milwaukee could always offer Ersan Ilyasova and Gooden in the deal which would definitely intrigue Atlanta considering they were really high on signing him this past off-season. However, the Bucks should only get rid of Ilyasova if it is a guarantee Smith signs a multi-year deal with the team before free agency starts.
Obviously, this is all speculation but it is certainly something worth thinking about as the fan base is clearly unhappy with the performance of the team. Many are calling for management to hit the reset button and this could definitely be a strong start to the rebuilding process.