There has been numerous reports the last few days that many teams have interest in Atlanta Hawks multi-talented forward Josh Smith. The best team with a shot at landing Smith, however, is the Milwaukee Bucks.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has shown through his trades earlier in the season (Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and Marvin Williams to Utah) that Atlanta is looking to shed their hefty contracts for a combination of young players, expiring deals and draft picks. Milwaukee has the ability to offer that.
Originally, I had two deals the Bucks could offer to land Smith. The first scenario was packaging the five-year deal of 25-year old forward Ersan Ilyasova along with the expiring contracts of Jennings and center Samuel Dalembert to Atlanta in exchange for Smith and speedy combo guard Devin Harris, both of which also have expiring contracts. The second scenario involved Monta Ellias and Larry Sanders for Smith straight up. However, it’s almost certain neither of those deals will happen now.
Last week ESPN Insider Chad reported there was a serious discourse between Jennings and Bucks management:
Jennings has, according to one source, “irreconcilable differences” with Milwaukee. He’s frustrated, according to sources, that the two sides weren’t able to work out a long-term extension this summer. In addition, he feels as though he doesn’t get the attention he deserves and wants a bigger market to take his talents to.
Jennings isn’t bluffing. He recently changed agents in an attempt to get some traction on his relocation. Jennings’ marching orders for his new representation? Get him out of Milwaukee, either by the trade deadline or via a toxic offer sheet from another team this summer.
On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein tweeted that Ellis was Atlanta’s primary option, due to the belief he and current Hawks point guard Jeff Teague could play well together.
On Bucks/Josh Smith talk: Hawks’ interest believed to start w/Monta Ellis, since Monta could play next to Jeff Teague, whom Hawks still like
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2013
Early Wednesday morning, ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard reported on “SportsCenter” that Smith would stay long-term in Milwaukee if given the opportunity to play with both Jennings and Ellis.
Later on Wednesday, Stein reported ”Jennings has moved alongside Larry Sanders and John Henson on the Bucks’ list of near-untouchables,” according to sources.
Early Thursday morning Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted “Hawks, Bucks seriously talking on Josh Smith deal, sources tell Y! Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh among players discussed for Smith, Devin Harris.”
Hawks, Bucks seriously talking on Josh Smith deal, sources tell Y! Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh among players discussed for Smith, Devin Harris.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 21, 2013
However, now it seems as if Ellis is off the table as well. Broussard recently tweeted that sources have insisted that Ellis will not be a piece of Milwaukee’s package for Smith.
Sources insist Bucks not trading Monte Ellis to ATL in JSmith deal
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 21, 2013
So much for those two initial trade scenarios. However, taking everything into consideration, there is still a trade possibility that exists between Milwaukee and Atlanta: Samuel Dalembert, Beno Udrih, Marquis Daniels and a pair of future first-round draft picks for Josh Smith, backup center Johan Petro and a second-round pick.
As I stated before, the Hawks are looking to shed their hefty contracts for a combination of young players, expiring deals and draft picks.
All five players in the proposed deal have expiring contracts and Atlanta would be saving roughly $2 million right off the top. The best part would obviously be the two future first-round draft picks. If the Hawks don’t trade Smith and let him walk away in the summer, they will have $30 million to spend in free agency. Well, if the trade were to go through, Atlanta wouldn’t re-sign any of the Milwaukee players once their contracts expire in the summer, so in a way it’s like letting Smith walk — but for two first-rounders.
I love Josh Smith, but I’d trade him for $32 million and two 1st-round draft picks.