In the past week alone, Josh Smith has been linked to 37 teams in the NBA, NFL, English Premiership League, Australian Rugby League and the 1st Annual Wesley Morton Backyard Badminton Tournament. It seems like hyperbole now, but a new rumor emerges everyday.
Let’s start first with what we know and do not know. There has been a max deal statement from both sides. First, Josh Smith declared himself a max player and later the Hawks reportedly told Smith’s camp they they would not be able to extend a max offer. However, that statement, according to some sources, has been rescinded.
The Atlanta Hawks have met with Josh Smith’s representatives in the past week to discuss their client’s future with the organization. Between now and the 4:00 PM February 21st trade deadline, there is the All-Star Break from the 15th to the 18th. The Hawks have an entire week without a game, giving the Hawks front office plenty of time to reach a decision. I do not doubt there will be a lack of suitors for Josh should a trade be eminent. It is rather a question of how much return Josh can bring to Atlanta, as the teams looking to trade for Josh would be interested in extending a long term contract upon his free agency this offseason. It may take a verbal commitment from Josh Smith to sign with the his new trade to get the transaction done.
David Aldridge on his NBA.com blog said Josh Smith has been offered around the league in advance of the trade deadline. Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld earlier reported “exploratory talks” with the Phoenix Suns involving a swap centered around Josh Smith and Marcin Gortat. However that report was later contradicted by a tweet from John Gambadoro, a sports talk show host based in Phoenix, Arizona. He replied to Kennedy on Twitter by saying:
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) February 1, 2013
Two other teams, the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets, also had exploratory talks with the Hawks according to Kennedy.
Only a few days ago, Chris Broussard tweeted about the probability of a trade and the most interested parties should a trade be available:
Source close to situation says “60 percent” chance ATL trades Josh Smith b4 deadline. Brooklyn one of several teams interested.
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 8, 2013
However, this report from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says there was never any talk about his contracts between the Hawks and Smith’s agents and that the report of the Hawks’s declaration to not be willing to pay the max is inaccurate.
Basically, the consensus around Josh Smith’s future in Atlanta is that there is no consensus. There is no indication the Hawks are necessarily trading or holding onto Josh Smith. Just about every player around the league is at least floated on the trade wire so front offices can gauge interest in their assets. Most of what is being reported and shared is normal procedure regarding front office actions around the trade deadline.
One potential hold up for a team considering trading for Josh Smith is his trade kicker that is included in his contract. There is a 15% kicker on Josh Smith’s current $13.2 million contract, meaning whatever team that were to trade for him would be required to pay something like $800,000 extra on his contract over the the last 2/5 of the season (or about $1.98 million over the whole year by taking 15% of $13.2 million).
Nevertheless, it certainly seems like a trade is much more likely than it was just a few months ago. With the Hawks fading toward the bottom seeds in the Eastern Conference, General Manager Danny Ferry may focus the future of the organization when reaching a decision. Be sure to take a hard look at Josh Smith in an Atlanta Hawks jersey in the few games ahead, because we may never see that again.