Feb. 15, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) shoots against the Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat (4) during the first half at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports.

NBA Trade Rumors: Josh Smith Linked to the Phoenix Suns

Of the teams that are reported to have an interest in Josh Smith, the Phoenix Suns may have the closest match to what General Manager Danny Ferry wants. The Suns have the cap space to take on Josh Smith without having to closely match his salary in return as well as the space to give him a large contract offer this summer if they so choose.

According to this report by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, the Dallas Mavericks and Suns might have their eye on the 9-year forward from Atlanta. In his own words:

The most-talked about name around All-Star Weekend is the availability of a player who arguably should’ve made his first All-Star team, Atlanta’s Josh Smith. Smith is approaching free agency this summer, and has not gotten along with new GM Danny Ferry, while also clashing with coach Larry Drew, who suspended him for a game this month.

Smith wants a maximum contract and anyone who takes him on must consider although he’s wildly talented, he’s maddeningly inconsistent. The new collective bargaining agreement is causing teams to take pause before acquiring him, as he’ll tie up a team’s salary cap but isn’t necessarily a superstar.

Ferry is shopping Smith hard, and was in Houston for the weekend. Two teams to watch, according to league executives: Dallas and Phoenix. Phoenix went after Hornets guard Eric Gordon pretty aggressively in free agency last summer, signing him to a maximum offer sheet before the Hornets matched it, and is in need of a high-caliber talent.

The Suns have a few notable trading chips, including center Marcin Gortat under contract for this year and the next for about $15M over both years. Jared Dudley, who is signed until 2015 with a player option for 2016, is locked in at a rate of $4.25M a year. He can play either the shooting guard or the small forward, has proven to be a natural scorer, and could also be available for the right asking price. Should the Lakers miss the playoffs this season, the Suns would own the rights to their first round pick in addition to their own. This means they may be willing to part with a pick for the sake of a successful transaction.

A Phoenix Suns blogger had a few comments on the matter, entertaining the thought of the trade but ultimately wanted the Hawks to take on one of their bad contracts (Michael Beasley, Channing Frye) in order to get the deal done. Ultimately, a trade seems unlikely, especially after reports of no communication between the two parties after the story broke two week ago. However, stranger things have happened. This is definitely a situation to monitor.

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