When Marc Spears (of Yahoo!) threw in a one-liner about San Antonio’s interest in Josh Smith during a power rankings column, it caused a bit of a stir. Then, people (with Spears’ help) connected the dots of Danny Ferry talking trade with his former employer, and the trade winds were blowing. In recent days, however, talk of any deal has seemed to die down.
Spurs beat writer Jeff McDonald took his blog for the San Antonio Express-News (seen here), and basically did what I had done in my head as soon as I heard the rumor. He debunked it. There is a salary fit in San Antonio for Smith, as they could center a deal around expiring contract (and restricted free agent) Tiago Splitter, as well as Nando de Colo, Stephen Jackson, etc. With that said, McDonald points out that a) the Hawks don’t want to take on salary, b) they want good picks for Smith, and c) Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio’s best asset) is basically untouchable for them. Seems simple, right?
The mistake we make (yes, we) is taking a deal that “works”, such as Splitter and Jackson for Smith, and going crazy with it as a rumor. In my opinion, Splitter is exactly the type of piece that I’d be after if I was Atlanta, but the issue with acquiring him as the principal asset is that he is a restricted free agent who will command a pretty big salary with the type of efficiency numbers he’s put up in the last two seasons. Would he be a great fit next to Al Horford? I think so, but not at $10 million a year.
We could wake up on Friday morning with Josh Smith in San Antonio… but I doubt it. Above all else, I defer to my common sense, and it is screaming that a) San Antonio wouldn’t want the headache, and b) there isn’t a deal that fits Danny Ferry’s criteria without Kawhi Leonard in it. Done and done.