Apparently disgruntled Hawks superstar Josh Smith has had a change of heart since the hiring of Danny Ferry and is now open to staying in Atlanta long-term.
Smith will be a free agent next summer and reportedly asked the Hawks to deal him before the trade deadline back on March 15 when Rick Sund was acting General Manager. However, since Ferry took over as GM and President of Basketball Operations on June 25, Smith has publicly renounced his past trade requests on multiple occasions.
The most recent occurrence was 11 days ago, when the 6’9” forward told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated that he’s no longer angling for a trade.
“It’s interesting,” Smith said in an interview with SI.com. “I think we have a great GM in Danny Ferry, and he has a plan that he’s putting together. It looks good. I really am just trying to get to know these guys, to build a relationship and see where the team is going to end up closer to veterans’ camp. I’m just excited. We have a lot of elite shooters, and I can see us being a run-and-gun shooting team.”
Asked if he still wants to be traded, Smith promptly responded, “No.”
Ferry himself could tell Smith has had a change of heart in the past month and seems to be including the eight-year veteran in on decision-making regarding the team’s future.
“He’s excited for next season,” Ferry tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We haven’t really gone in that direction with him [on roster plans]. But we’ve talked about how we’re going to play. We’ve talked about other players. His ideas, my ideas. I’m just trying to establish a relationship.”
“[Smith's] a really good player,” Ferry added. “I love his ability to pass the ball. I love his ability to make game-changing plays defensively. I love his competitiveness. If I was out there playing, I would want Josh on my team.”
Ferry unofficially made Smith (aka J-Smoove) the face of the Hawks franchise went he completed a deal to ship all-star shooting guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for five players and a lottery-protected first round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Later that same day, Ferry dealt small forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for combo guard Devin Harris.
Now with a revamped roster, a totally new team outlook, and a true shot at being the #1 player, Josh Smith might be staying down south for a long time.