It should come as a surprise to no one that Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith wants to see what is available to him in free agency. The nine-year veteran has spent his entire career with the Hawks, and now it is time to see if he can get one last big pay day.
There is a good chance the 27-year-old could come back to Atlanta next season. With that being said, the Hawks are going to have to outbid other teams if they want to retain their leading scorer from the 2012-13 NBA season.
“The only thing I know is I want to be able to experience free agency,” Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I want to explore my options and see what’s out there. I don’t have any certain idea what’s going to happen.”
Smith posted 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one block, one steal and 44 minutes in Atlanta’s 81-73 loss to the Indiana Pacers in Game 6. Shooting 31.3 percent from the field and going 0-for-3 beyond the arc is most likely not what he had in mind for his possible last game with the Hawks. However, it was an emotional departure nonetheless.
“As I walked off the court, everything just sort of hit me,” Smith said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just the uncertainty of what the future holds. Just thinking about all of the relationships I’ve had here and the people who’ve crossed my path since I’ve been here. I just … I just don’t know.”
If Atlanta shows Smith the money, I cannot imagine a scenario where he skips town. However, he still has plenty of good basketball left in him, which means there will be teams willing to do whatever it takes to sign him. For that reason, many believe Atlanta should have dealt Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline when they could have at least received some decent compensation for him.
With the playoffs still going on, it is too early to tell who is going to go after Smith in free agency. However, there is no question there will be many teams looking for a player with his ability to put them over the top next season.