NBA Atlanta Hawks

2013 NBA Free Agency: Goodbye and Good Riddance, Josh Smith

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks will finally get to solve the reoccurring puzzle of what to do with forward Josh Smith. When July 1st hits, Smith is as good as gone. Heck, in his mind he’s been gone since the Hawks were ousted in the first round of the NBA Playoffs courtesy of Paul George and the Indiana Pacers.

It has seemed as though every year in recent memory we are talking about this guy come the time of the trade deadline. He’s an interesting case, really.

With the athleticism and frame to be an absolute force on both ends of the court, Smith has never really reached his full potential with Atlanta. He has seen himself more of a shooter than a guy who can dominate inside the paint both offensively and defensively.

His enormous leaping ability gives him an advantage in the rebounding department, as well as throwing a few blocks in here and there. But, on offense, he hasn’t truly become what he was supposed to be.

Maybe he needs a change of scenery, or maybe he will never amount to his full potential. At this point, the only sure-fire fact we do know is that he is headed out of Atlanta and in a hurry.

Smith sees himself as a max-contract player. It will be curious to watch the market for him unfold as teams begin to call his number in regards to his services. Most NBA general managers would agree that Smith is not quite a max-contract player, but will there be a couple of teams who are desperate enough for talent that forego that fact?

That is for the summer to figure out, I guess. The Hawks, meanwhile, can move on and focus on their future without the constant question of just what exactly they plan to do with the veteran forward. The answer is obvious now. Goodbye and good riddance.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA writer for RantSports.com also contributing to the NFL. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmheckman“Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.