There are reports coming out that the Philadelphia 76ers were very close to acquiring Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith at the NBA trade deadline at the end of February. Good thing for the 76ers the deal did not go through.
Why on earth would Philadelphia think it is a good idea to trade for Smith when he will become a free agent this summer? I understand that the concept of Smith and Andrew Bynum possibly playing together next season is intriguing, but I seriously doubt it would have ever happened anyways. Both players are going to ask for too much money and the organization will probably be unable to retain either of them.
“Sources from both teams confirmed that the Sixers and the Hawks were close to a deal that would have sent Sixers Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes to the Hawks for forward Josh Smith,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The obvious reason this deal did not go through is because the Hawks wanted more for their best player. The Milwaukee Bucks were reportedly close to a trade with Atlanta that went right up to the last minute of the deadline, but the Hawks decided to pull out last second. The Bucks were ready to send defensive specialist Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, point guard Beno Udrih, power forward Ekpe Udoh and a protected first-round draft pick to the Hawks for Smith. If the Hawks turned this deal down, there was no way they were going to accept Turner and Hawes by themselves.
Considering Turner and Hawes will still be under contract through at least next season, this would have been a disaster of a move. Obviously, if the 76ers were able to lock up Smith in free agency, then it would certainly be something to think about, but the fact is Smith is going to the highest bidder.
Turner is averaging 13.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 36.2 minutes per game this season as one of the lone bright spots on a struggling Philadelphia team. Meanwhile, Hawes would have been a big loss because he is the most productive center on the team.
I still believe it was insane that Atlanta did not try to get something for Smith at the deadline considering he was the most talked about player who was up for discussion. However, I understand that they want to keep him for their playoff push and hope they can convince him to stay once the season concludes.