When the Atlanta Hawks decided not to trade Josh Smith at the trade deadline, they chose to run the risk of losing him in free agency for nothing. Given Smith’s well-documented desire to move on, him leaving Atlanta for another franchise appears to be as close to a sure thing as you could get.
But Smith raised a few eyebrows earlier this season when he claimed that he is a max contract level player. Smith clarified his statement earlier this week:
“The question was asked to me, ‘Do I feel like I’m a max player?’ And I gave him an honest answer. I said, ‘Yes I do.’ And the reason why I say this, is because if you don’t know your worth, who will? I can’t set my standards low. If you set them low, that’s how people are going to view you. Like when you sell a house, you don’t sell the house for $2 million. You put the $5 million sticker on there … and then you work it out. You negotiate.”
Smith does make a good point, but it may be a bit flawed. Placing a high value on yourself may raise the ceiling of negotiations, but it may also scare away some suitors that would have otherwise been interested in the versatile 27-year old’s services.
Even more importantly; is Smith a player that’s worth a max contract? Smith is one of the most overall productive players in the NBA, averaging 17.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals a game and he is the only player in the league that puts up a 15/8/4/1.5/1.
Smith’s last deal was for five years and $58 million and he makes $13.2 this season, so he can expect a raise of some sort from whoever signs him. He probably wont get the $20 million per season max, but a team should feel comfortable paying Smith $15-17 million a year for his services, which isn’t bad at all.