The Atlanta Hawks must find a way to trade away Josh Smith before the trade deadline passes on Thursday. The Hawks have been stuck in a dangerous place to be in the NBA—good but not good enough to compete for a title. The Hawks have reached the playoffs the past five seasons, but have only made it out of the first round twice and were unable to reach a conference championship. It is time to rebuild in Atlanta and the first step is to trade Smith.
He is set to become a free agent this summer and he envisions himself getting a huge paycheck. The 6-9 forward is seeking a max contract offer in the offseason. He has averaged 17.4 points per game and has posted 8.6 rebounds per game this season. Still, the Hawks have no interest in signing him to a max contract deal this summer and that is why they are entertaining deals for him.
Although he is a very good player who would make almost any team better, it is hard to imagine any team willing to offer him a max contract this summer. Still, many teams are interested in acquiring Smith, whether to be a two month rental to enhance the title chances of their team for this year or to acquire him and convince him to sign for less money this upcoming offseason.
The Brooklyn Nets are one of the teams that highly covet Smith. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, the Nets are willing to part ways with forward Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks but as he explains, the Hawks will want more in return. Another potential destination for Smith is with the Boston Celtics, who have sought after Smith for a long time now. Smith is best friends with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who recently tore his ACL, and he would be a perfect fit for a team that lacks toughness and a legitimate presence on the glass. Alas, the deal seems highly unlikely because Marc Stein of ESPN.com says the Hawks would want Paul Pierce in return for Smith and there is no way the C’s would deal the legend and longest-tenured Boston athlete just to acquire Smith.
The Hawks have been in conversations with other teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards, but still have not found a suitable deal to trade Smith. The problem for the Hawks now is the other teams have leverage on Atlanta because they know the Hawks desperately need to part ways with him.
Smith is a versatile player that can bring a lot to a team, including scoring, rebounding and hardiness, but if the Hawks are unable to deal him, they will be making a colossal mistake that will hurt the future of the team immensely.